What are the best unloading splints

Dr. de la Iglesia is a doctor specialized in Orthodontics and dedicated exclusively to it. He has a master’s degree in Orthodontics and is also a professor at the International University of Catalonia. He won the first prize for the best cases treated with lingual orthodontics as an active member of the European Society of Lingual Orthodontics (ESLO) in July 2012. In this article he explains that unloading splints are resin prostheses used to treat bruxism and relieve temporomandibular joint (TMJ) symptoms.

Unloading splints in everyone’s mouth

Nowadays, the use of unloading splints is in vogue to the point that you can buy them on the Internet. However, not all systems with the same name are. Many of them are made of soft resin and can be counterproductive during the treatment of bruxism. It is necessary to remember that there are several pathologies related to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and not all of them can be solved with an unloading splint.

What should a good unloading splint be like?

The dentist or orthodontist will be in charge of deciding whether this device should be used. The essential requirements that must be met when it is made are as follows:

  • Fabrication using a hard, rigid material. Soft materials are not suitable
  • They must be thick so that the practitioner can adjust them and lower the resin to fit the patient’s mouth.
  • The splint should be free of notches and impressions to ensure freedom of movement of the jaw without any type of gearing.
  • The fabrication of each splint is individual. Thus, the splint adapts to one third of the teeth in the area where it will be installed, and will allow any mandibular movement of the patient without the appearance of problems.
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After the fabrication of this splint, the patient will need 2 or 3 visits to adjust it. After this step the jaw contacts and movements will be correct.

The dentist will explain to the patient how to use the splint and the care it needs such as: daily washing with hand soap (always avoid toothpaste) in order to prevent the accumulation of plaque and dirt. It is also advisable to treat it with denture cleaning tablets. The most important thing is not to confuse these splints with other types of instruments such as the thermoplastic splints or sleep splints and moldable splints that are sold on the Internet.