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Dental splints: explore the different types and what they’re used for

09 June · 3 minutes

Custom-made for each patient, dental splints are used for aesthetic, orthodontic treatments or to treat jaw problems. As of late, they have become more available in the market. Mouth splints are increasing in popularity, standing out as practical and discrete devices that help people treat numerous problems. Let's look into the different types of dental splints available and how they work.

What is a splint for teeth?

In general, we could say that a dental splint is a type of removable dental device made from transparent plastic materials. These are clear and removable devices that are custom made so they adapt perfectly to the teeth of each patient. Their thickness and manufacturing may vary depending on what the splint aims to do for your teeth.

What is a dental splint used for?

Depending on the needs of each patient, a dental splint is used for a number of different things. Splints for your teeth can fix bite problems, align teeth, or even help whiten teeth by adding whitening products to them.

Patient smiling while putting in his orthodontic splints

Dental splints types

There are many different types of dental splints depending on their use.

Anti-snoring splints

Anti-snoring splints are worn at night and work by moving the jaw forward a few millimeters to prevent making annoying noises at night.

Occlusal splints for bruxism

Occlusal splints for bruxism have a purely medical function and are used to treat jaw problems, as well as issues with the joints and temporomandibular muscles (called TMJ). The occlusal splints are used above all by patients suffering from bruxism, or teeth grinding.

These splints for teeth grinding are made of plastic or resin and are usually used at night. They are normally larger than other similar devices. Their thickness allows them to separate the upper and lower teeth a distance great enough to relax the jaw muscles.

Occlusal splints also prevent teeth grinding during sleep, which eventually causes wear and tear and leads to other dental problems. Even though they’re known as sleep splints, we’ll see later, they’re not the only ones that are used only at night.

Teeth whitening splints

Teeth whitening splints, or more commonly known as whitening moulds, are probably the most frequently used splint. They’re worn with a whitening gel for a few minutes or a few hours a day depending on the product used. It’s important that the whitening product is prescribed by a dentist after carefully analysing each patient for safe treatment. Depending on the colour of the enamel and the desired result, the specialist will prescribe a specific gel to avoid damaging the teeth, and they’ll also give the patient all the details about its use.

Whitening splint being filled with hydrogen peroxide gel

Orthodontic splints

Revolutionary in the orthodontic market, these dental splints, better known as aligners, correct dental problems and offer a completely invisible treatment. These are removable devices that can be changed every 7 to 15 days, depending on the case, until the desired smile is achieved.

Orthodontic splints should always be used within the framework of a treatment monitored by a specialist. They’ll be prescribed after a detailed examination of the patient and initial testing to determine if the patient is ready to start treatment. These points are vitally important in avoiding the risks involved with at-home orthodontics and "treatments" with orthodontic splints without medical supervision.

Retention splints

Lastly, retention splints, also known as retainers or night guards, are used after orthodontics to keep the smile perfectly aligned. Teeth move over the years, even after wearing braces. Hence the need to carry on using a retention device to maintain the results. They are mainly worn at night and must be changed regularly to maintain their function.

How to clean a dental splint

If you’re wondering how to clean a dental splint, you’ll find that it’s actually quite simple. The splints should be washed with cold water and mild soap before putting them in the mouth after brushing. The dental splint’s ability to be taken out for cleaning allows patients to have a more hygienic treatment.

We can also use a prosthesis cleaner such as tablets that dissolve in water. You just have to place the splints in a glass of water with the tablet and leave them there for about 20 minutes to ensure they’re completely clean.

How much do dental splints cost in the UK?

The cost of dental splints in the UK depends on several factors, although the determining factor is the type of dental splint:

  • In general, the cost of occlusal splints for bruxism ranges between £200 and £400.
  • As for the price of retention splints, it varies between £60 and £200, approximately.
  • The price of anti-snoring splints is between €100 and €1,000.
  • If we talk about the price of teeth whitening trays, it ranges between £200 and £400.
  • Finally, the price of orthodontic splint treatments can range from £2,000 and £5,500.
Special explaining Impress orthodontic splints

Impress orthodontic and retention splints

Our mission is to provide treatment with orthodontic and retention splints with the best quality-price ratio. That’s why we offer removable and invisible orthodontic aligners adapted to each individual case, as well as retainers so you can keep your perfect smile forever.

Impress orthodontic splints

At Impress we work with removable and invisible mouth splints to align the teeth and treat bite problems. Our treatments are adapted to each patient and based on the detailed diagnosis by our orthodontists. That way we can offer the treatment that best suits your needs and the complexity of your case.

Impress retention splints

At the end of your treatment, you’ll need to wear nighttime splints to keep your teeth straight. Whether you are an Impress patient or not, you can contact us to get your retainers.

Contact us for a first consultation!

If you want to start your orthodontic treatment and show off an eye-catching smile, or if you want to maintain the results of your treatment with retainers, you can contact us to book an appointment at your nearest Impress clinic, by filling out the form through our website. You can reach out by phone or WhatsApp at +44 20 3808 1072. Get in touch with us and we’ll answer all your questions!

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Frequently Asked Questions on dental splints

What to do if the dental splint is too tight?

With orthodontic and post-orthodontic dental splints it’s normal that at first you feel that a little more pressure is exerted on the teeth. Therefore, it’s important to wear them as long as possible so that they adjust to your teeth. However, in the case of bruxism splints, no pressure should be felt after 2 days of wearing it. If this happens, it is possible that it is poorly fitted, so you’ll have to go to the specialist to have it re-fitted. On the other hand, the splints that are used for teeth whitening should not cause any pain at all, since they don’t fit as tight as the previous ones.

What to do if the dental splint fits poorly?

If the prescribed dental splint doesn’t fit correctly, you’ll need to go to your dentist or orthodontist so they can adjust it or tell you how to proceed.

Do dental splints hurt?

With dental splints it’s possible you might feel some pressure, but they don’t usually cause pain. If for any reason you feel pain, you should go to the specialist to check the dental splint.

How long does dental splinting last?

It depends on the type of splint. Orthodontic splints are usually changed every week or every two weeks, retention splints every 6 or 9 months, as for bruxism splints, these usually last about 2 or 3 years, while whitening splints are used for as long as the treatment lasts.


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