What is a Michigan Splint and when it beneficial to you?

Michigan Splint

A Michigan splint is a removable oral appliance that covers the biting surfaces of all the teeth in either the upper jaw or lower jaw.

Michigan splints are customized to meet each individual’s requirements and ensure that there is even contact between the teeth when they come together. They are made from hard acrylic to protect the teeth from tooth wear.

9 Tips to correctly use a Michigan splint

  1. Usually, the dental splint is worn at night as most people tend to grind their teeth during sleeping.
  2. Make sure the splint and your teeth are very clean before you wear the splint.
  3. Do not consume food or drinks other than water once the splint is in place.
  4. Ensure that the splint clicks securely over your teeth.
  5. Brush your splint with soap over a water basin in the morning.
  6. Do not use toothpaste as it can scratch the appliance.
  7. Do not wash it with warm water since it can change shape and the splint won’t fit your teeth anymore.
  8. Place the splint in a mild sterilization solution like denture cleaner or baby bottle cleaning fluid once a week.
  9. Always store the splint in a dry place away from pets and children.

Indications of Michigan splints

A Michigan splint is used in patients with,

  • Habitual teeth grinding or bruxism

Unintentional forceful grinding of teeth especially while asleep, leads to the wearing off of the enamel. Some people with psychological stress and insecurities tend to grind their teeth even during the day. Such patients need simultaneous psychiatric support as well to eliminate the bruxism habit.

  • Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD)

The hydrochloric acid that should be confined to the stomach leaks into the mouth in patients with GORD. even when the patient is lying down gastric acid leaks up the oesophagus in small amounts. This acid is highly strong that it gradually dissolves the tooth enamel weakening the teeth. Demineralized teeth are highly susceptible to chipping off and breaking easily followed by tooth sensitivity.

  • The habit of frequent consumption of acidic food and beverages

Frequent consumption of carbonated and acidic food or drinks has the same effect on teeth as in GORD. Direct contact with acidic beverages with teeth will wear off the natural tooth substance more rapidly. Worn-off teeth will give rise to uncomfortable symptoms like sensitivity and pain. They will compromise the appearance of teeth as well. Patients who are suffering from GORD medical attention to treat the underlying condition.

  • Jaw joint disorders

The pressure building up in the muscles due to the continuous grinding of teeth will give rise to muscle and joint pain. In dentistry, these conditions are characteristically called temporomandibular disorders.

Thus, Michigan splints protect the teeth from tooth wear, and improve jaw pain, restrict mouth opening, and headaches. In addition, they can also protect the teeth with crowns and large fillings that cover fractured teeth.

Soft night guards are different from Michigan splints as night guards are made of soft acrylic whereas Michigan splints are made of hard acrylic and are more complex to fabricate.