Most of the world's population has at least one symptom of temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMD. These disorders result from abnormal use of the jaw or jaw joint, leading to joint popping, jaw muscle fatigue and pain when chewing. Excessive teeth grinding also falls into this category. These actions can lead to severe headaches, jaw pain and trouble eating. One solution is a dental splint, an appliance similar to a brace or retainer worn in the mouth to prevent grinding or abnormal actions with the jaw. The splint must be cared for properly to ensure your mouth remains healthy.
Remove the dental splint from your mouth. Gently pry the splint either up or down away from your mouth (depending on its placement) with your fingertips positioned under the back of the splint. It will come free from your mouth with a little prying.
Brush your splint gently with the splint brush provided by your dentist. Soak the bristles in lukewarm water. Clean your splint every time you brush your teeth, which should be after every meal to prevent food from building up under the splint.
Soak the splint to remove excessive odour or staining. Soak in a mixture of equal parts cool water and vinegar or 30 ml (2 tbsp) of baking soda in a cup of cool water for 20 to 30 minutes. You can also combine cool water with a denture cleaning solution and soak for 15 minutes.
Rinse the splint thoroughly in cool water after you brush and soak it before placing it back into your mouth.
Unless otherwise instructed by your dentist, only remove the splint for cleaning purposes.
If you do not have the splint brush, use a soft-bristled toothbrush, such as a baby's toothbrush.
Do not use hot water to brush or soak your dental splint. If the water is too hot for your fingers, it is too hot to use on your splint. Similarly, do not store splints near heaters or hot appliances because the plastic will melt.
Tips and warnings
- Unless otherwise instructed by your dentist, only remove the splint for cleaning purposes.
- If you do not have the splint brush, use a soft-bristled toothbrush, such as a baby's toothbrush.