Worry-free with a jaw splint
Jaw splints or occlusal splints should not be confused with an invisible tooth splint for correcting teeth. Many physical ailments that can be traced back to the jaw can be greatly reduced or even fully healed using a jaw splint. You can find out here about when a jaw splint makes sense and whether your insurance covers the cost of treatment.
What is a jaw splint?
The jaw splint is used to treat so-called craniomandibular dysfunction (disorder of the masticatory system), abbreviated as CMD, such as bruxism (teeth grinding) or also sleeping problems. Unlike a transparent dental splint, which is only used to correct a misalignment of the teeth, the purpose of a jaw splint is to relax the chewing muscles or correct a misalignment of the jaw. Improper stress distribution of the jaw joints and teeth can lead to numerous pains and discomfort in various parts of the body. In many cases, a jaw splint can harmonise the occlusal position and chewing muscles and prevent further consequences.
There are two distinct types of jaw splints. They can either pursue a therapeutic goal—such as correcting a malpositioned jaw—or they can serve as a simple protective splint, e.g. against teeth grinding. The splints are always tailor-made to meet the needs and the goals of the patient.
Jaw splints against pain
With a jaw splint, many complaints such as tension, jaw pain, jaw cracking, teeth grinding, back pain, etc. can be effectively treated where a CMD is a factor. The reason behind these symptoms is the underlying jaw misalignment. Because the symptoms of CMDs are highly variable, however, they are often not diagnosed until late.
Jaw splint against tinnitus
Tinnitus and severe headaches can be the result of a misalignment of the mandibular joint. The reason for this is the reduced distance between the middle ear and the jaw joint. If the occlusal height has shifted due to a CMD, such as teeth grinding, and the lower jaw is no longer sufficiently stabilised, the condyle may become displaced, resulting in noises. If the mandibular condyle is pushed back when the mouth is closed, excessive pressure is put on the two nerves that run there. This can result in tinnitus or severe headaches. A jaw splint can resolve this. It ensures that the condyles are pushed back into their original position, which prevents pressure being put on the nerves and the resulting tinnitus and headaches.
Jaw splint against snoring & for sleep apnoea
Snoring is commonplace and, to a certain degree, has no health implications. Snoring is the result of slackened muscles during sleep, which causes the upper respiratory tract to narrow and accelerated respiration. This results in vibration, which is the ultimate cause of the snoring noise. If the snoring is so severe that it leads to sleep apnoea—where breathing stops during sleep—it is a serious illness that can have serious consequences for the cardiovascular system.
With the so-called mandibular advancement splint, the jaw is held in position or pulled forward at night so that there is no narrowing of the airways and snoring and apnoea can be significantly reduced.
The cost for a jaw splint vary depending on the type and material of the splint and can come to several hundred euros. The price consists of the production cost, the material costs, as well as the dentist's fees.
Does insurance cover the costs?
Whether the health insurance provider will cover a treatment with a jaw splint is a question of the disease in question and the necessity of the splint. While the preparation of an individual jaw splint is partly covered by the statutory health insurance funds in the case of necessary treatment, other services such as diagnosis and functional therapy often have to be paid for out of pocket. Before starting treatment, it is therefore essential to obtain the approval of the health insurance provider in question to cover the costs. Private health insurance providers and some supplementary dental insurances usually cover the other costs for functional analysis and therapy in addition to the jaw splint. But here, too, it is worth confirming that costs will be covered, just to be safe.
Cleaning and caring for your jaw splint is important to avoid cavities and other tooth diseases. The splint should be removed for eating and drinking. After eating and before the splint is put back in, it's best to brush your teeth with toothpaste and a toothbrush, or at least thoroughly rinsed with water. The jaw splint should also be thoroughly cleaned with lukewarm water. Depending on the material and firmness, denture cleaners or appropriate cleaning tablets may be used. This should be be done in consultation with your doctor, however, in order to avoid damage to the form and function of your splint.