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Complete Restorative Solutions by Prescribing Bite Splints

Occlusal Appliances
Prescribing a bite splint is one of the easiest ways to demonstrate to patients that you care about their long-term dental health.

Bite splints protect patients’ dentition and restorations

Many patients unconsciously brux their teeth while asleep. Despite not always being aware of the action, patients can over time present with worn dentition, popping of cusp tips, abfractions and gingival recession. Once a tooth or restoration is damaged, it needs to be addressed.

The goal of bite splints is to transfer those negative effects of bruxism from the patients’ dentition and restorations to the material in between. Bite splints prevent direct contact with opposing dentition, allowing for a protective barrier.

In the January 2001 edition of JADA, Dr. Gordon Christensen explains, “If a dentist merely watches patients as they wear their teeth down, they are practicing supervised neglect and contributing to continued tooth destruction.” This supervised neglect also applies to patients’ restorations. In many cases, patients pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for restorative work. When that restorative work is destroyed because of something completely preventable, patients tend to respond negatively.

Quote from Dr Gordon Christensen

Below are some examples of restorative solutions that can be accompanied with a bite splint for sustained protection.

  • BruxZir® Implant Prosthesis: The prosthesis serves as a zirconia, fixed implant solution for edentulous patients looking for a more durable and esthetic replacement for removable dentures.
  • IPS e.max® veneers: These lithium disilicate veneers offer a high flexural strength with beautiful esthetics.
  • Crowns & bridges: Despite their dependable performance, crowns & bridges are still susceptible to excessive jaw force and bruxing.
  • Restorations over implants: Just like traditional crowns & bridges, restorations over implants need to be protected from the harmful effects of bruxism.
In an era where instant gratification is expected for most services, bite splints hit the mark. When a patient tries a bite splint for the first time, the protection it offers is immediate. Even if patients are not aware that they brux, the instant protection a bite splint offers shows them that something is being done to secure their restorative investments.

Educate yourself and your patients about the benefits of bite splints

Educating your patients about the benefits of a service you offer allows them to feel they are making a choice that will positively impact their dental health. Showing patients images of dentition and restorations that are completely worn down, chipped or damaged can provide them with a realistic reference for something they might not have thought about before.  

Teeth that has been worn down by bruxism
When patients see a visual representation of the benefits of bite splints, it’s easier to justify starting treatment.

It’s possible that long-time patients might ask you, “Why do I need a bite splint now when you haven’t prescribed me one before?” Being transparent is vital. Inform your patient that you have been doing more in-depth research on the effects of bruxism, and you feel they now present a good case for becoming a bite splint patient.

Educating your patients on the importance of these splints is key to achieving a higher case acceptance rate. When patients understand why they need a particular service, they’re more likely to agree to that service. Bite splints will also become a more permanent lifestyle change for patients who understand the need to wear them nightly, increasing the likelihood the patient will request new ones when their current appliance wears down.

Bite splints can increase practice revenue

If nearly every bruxism patient can benefit from wearing a bite splint, then your practice is bound to increase its revenue. Price your bite splints accordingly and patients will be able to weigh the cost of the appliance over the cost of potentially needing restorative work completed or redone.

Whether you’re doing veneers, crowns, full-mouth restorations, or bridges, bite splints can be used as a complementary treatment option. Sometimes, it helps for patients to think of bite splints as the extended warranty offer for a brand-new cell phone: Patients don’t have to get the warranty, but it serves as a preventive measure in case something were to go wrong.

Meanwhile, you also benefit from potential reorders. For heavy bruxers, a bite splint can wear down significantly in the span of a year. That means you can continue prescribing bite splints in regular intervals for most patients. In other words, this new service will not be just a one-time payment. Bite splints can be a lucrative solution to practices looking for a simple service to add to their offerings.

Comfort H/S Splint
Looking for a practice builder? Bite splints can increase revenue and help more of your patients.

As a whole, patients keep coming back to dentists who demonstrate a clear interest in their overall dental health and dental investments. This also propagates a positive word of mouth, which encourages new patients to look into your practice.

The different types of bite splints

There are many different types of bite splints available to dentists, including ones that offer extra benefits in addition to protecting dentition and restorations.

Bite splint that protects against the effects of bruxism:
Comfort H/S Splint
The Comfort H/S™ Hard Soft Bite Splint is the most widely prescribed bite splint.
  • Comfort H/S Bite Splint: This splint protects against the effects of bruxism with a 1 mm soft polyurethane inner layer and a 3 mm hard copolyester outer layer.
Bite splints that protect against the effects of bruxism and address sleep-disordered breathing by advancing the mandible:
Not only do these appliances protect against the effects of bruxism, they also treat snoring and sleep apnea.
  • Silent Nite® Sleep Appliance: This mandibular advancement device is thin, comfortable and flexible. It exhibits documented clinical success in mitigating or preventing the disruptive, unhealthy effects of snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea.
  • EMA® (Elastic Mandibular Advancement): This device was created for the noninvasive treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It advances the mandible and opens the bite to allow for less restricted airflow.
  • dreamTAP: The dreamTAP appliance reduces sleep apnea-associated health risks without the need for surgery or medications. The appliance holds the lower jaw in a forward position, maintaining a clear airway to reduce snoring and improve breathing.
  • TAP® 3 TL: This appliance helps provide room for the patient’s tongue and allows the lips to close. An adjustment key enables the patient to adjust the protrusion of the lower jaw.
Bite splints that protect against the effects of bruxism and prevent tension-type headaches and migraines:
NTI
These migraine prevention devices are FDA-cleared and offer a valuable alternative to patients who are nursing, pregnant or taking pharmacological solutions.
  • NTI-tss Plus®: The NTI-tss Plus (Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition Tension Suppression System) is an anterior disclusion device proven effective at preventing tension-type headaches and migraines by keeping the posteriors and canines out of occlusion.
  • NTI OmniSplint®: This device minimizes clenching and bruxing intensity through a full-arch design. By covering both arches, the NTI OmniSplint provides patients with a comfortable solution for their migraines or tension headaches.

Conclusion

Adding bite splint services to your practice, especially as a complementary service to restorative solutions, yields positive results for dentists and their patients. To get started today, visit newwestlab.com/all-services/services-bite-splints.

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