Cons of Wearing an Occlusal Splint

An occlusal splint is a mouth appliance that is used to stop bruxism, the act of grinding teeth together. The mouth guard also is used to protect dental work and treat jaw disorders. It is a removable piece that is custom-molded to fit the top and bottom teeth. Although an occlusal splint is helpful for correcting various dental problems, there are disadvantages to wearing one.


An occlusal splint may not stop teeth grinding, according to The Orthodontic Cyberjournal. The splint may protect teeth during the time a user wears it, but the problem of teeth grinding may return when the splint is no longer used. Splints can be costly, especially those that are custom-fitted by a dentist. The device is a waste of a patient's time and money if the splint does not have long-term results.

Infection and Decay

Side Effects of Occlusal Splint Therapy

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When a patient wears an occlusal splint for an extended period of time, the splint may cause tooth decay. Bacteria and debris may become trapped underneath the guard. The splint blocks saliva from washing away bacteria and plaque, which can allow cavities and gum infections to develop while a patient is wearing it.

Splint Damage

Sometimes splint users who grind their teeth can unknowingly grind the material of the splint, according to the TMJ Help Program. This process can leave teeth marks inside of the splint that cause an improper fit. If the splint does not fit properly, it can worsen the problem it is supposed to fix. If the splint is damaged from biting, the guard must be replaced. The cost of replacement is an additional hardship on the patient.

Other Disadvantages

DIY Bite Guard

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Wearing an occlusal splint can cause pain and sensitivity in your teeth. This discomfort usually happens during the first few days a patient starts wearing the splint. The pain should only last for one to three days, according to Smiles From The Heart. The splint can cause an increase in saliva, which should disappear over time. Some patients must wear a splint all the time. This constant use can cause irritation of the patient's mouth and gum tissues. However, if the splint is removed constantly, the specific mouth condition will not be corrected. Also, it may be difficult to eat when wearing the splint. Chewing while wearing a splint can put undue stress on muscles of the mouth. Accordingly it may be beneficial to only eat soft foods, such as soup or mashed potatoes, while wearing the splint.