Bite plates, guards and splints
My teeth began to hurt a few weeks ago. It felt as if one of my old fillings was working it way out of the tooth. I noticed months ago that my front, left tooth was a little chipped as well and I attributed that to my constant nail chewing. The pain became enough to worry me and I called my dentist to find out what was going on. It seems that my daily stresses come out while I am sleeping. I am a teeth grinder and clencher.
The dentist asked if I awakened with a sore neck in the morning. I did. My neck is usually so tense that one could bounce a brick off of it most days. She examined my teeth, had me bite down on some type of paper and grind a bit. The verdict: I needed a bite splint or bite guard to wear when I went to sleep.
The grossest part of the procedure in making my splint was the plasticine they poured into the mold and then placed on my teeth. Cold, thick and wet; I had to keep it on my teeth, being held by the hygienist until it dried, then, they pried it off of my teeth for a form to be made from this model. Problem was, the bottom part had to be done three times as they couldn't get the form in far enough to contact the back teeth. Ever feel like you're spitting out bits of plastic that are stuck in your mouth? Yuck!
Two weeks later, I went to the dentist again to get fitted with my guard. It was too big at first and the dentist had a handy tool that was used to better shape it to my mouth. It still felt like a huge instrusion in my mouth when I left the dentist office. I wear a bottom plate because of the way I grind and clench.
The first night, I could barely sleep. The amount of drool my mouth produced was amazing and it all seemed to seep under the bite plate. I felt like a St. Bernard foaming at the mouth. I swallowed for what seemed like hours until I dozed off finally. When I removed it from my mouth the following morning, a string of spit hung between my mouth and the splint. How sexy I felt! My lips also felt a bit swollen; I felt like Angelina's twin!
I've been wearing the darned thing now for a week and the saliva production is getting better. I am even falling asleep much more quickly and have learned to suck in and swallow my extra spit before removing the acrylic piece from my mouth. My jaws hurt a bit each morning. In some ways, I feel as if I am clenching more because my mouth is so full. However, the neck pain has diminished in severity. My teeth no longer hurt either. I must have a lot of tension that I release in the night. I'll give it another couple of weeks before I go see the dentist for a cleaning. I'll then ask about any other symptoms that I might be having. Apparently, they can see the grinding that's been done on the splint. I'm eager to see the damage I've done through their microscope; I don't want to be wearing this mouthpiece if I can't see the damage that I've done.
Mouth plates, guards or splints as they are called are supposed to help you keep your teeth. They don't do much for your appearance, nor in enticing your significant other; so keep yours stored away in its little case until you are ready for slumber land. You will feel like you have three extra sets of teeth the first week you wear it and will feel as if you need to sleep with your head in a bowl the first few days because of the drool. I promise, it does get better with use. I hope the end result will mean that I'll be a 90 year old woman one day with all of her own teeth!