Well-made appliances for extended use usually require a laboratory for fabrication and require delivery by a licensed dentist. Dentists will select the acrylic material used to be a hard or soft material, will chose the thickness of the appliance, whether the appliance is designed to be worn on the upper or lower arch, and other considerations that reflect the patient’s condition (is there a TMJ disorder, does the patient brux, does the patient have sleep disordered breathing, for example.)
Most over the counter devices are Boil and Bite appliances that are “full arch”, meaning that they cover all of the teeth in the upper or lower jaw. Because they are designed for molding in hot water, most boil and bite appliances are made of soft acrylic. Depending on how hard a person clenches at night, and depending on the severity of the case, some patients who wear a soft appliance over time can habituate to the appliance in such a way that it no longer serves the purpose of inhibiting the clenching behavior.
We work with physical therapists and chiropractors that had been advising their patients to pursue a “boil and bite” appliance found in a pharmacy. This is not optimal! The patient in pain does not want to confront vast selection of OTC products with various claims, and they do not want to pick one and have it fail and blame themselves for picking the wrong appliance.
The QuickSplint® is designed to be ready-made without requiring expert adjustments, but it is also designed to specifically inhibit the posterior teeth to be in contact. This is achieved effectively by the partial coverage design.
Here is the concern about a partial coverage device: We do not advocate the QuickSplint as an extended use device because there is a risk called “supra-eruption”. Supra-eruption can occur when a partial coverage device is worn 24/7 or worn at night extended period. Supra-eruption occurs when a person’s posterior teeth “erupt” or lower and become longer than the anterior teeth, and the result is that the person may develop an “anterior open bite” where the front teeth do not meet when the person bites down.
We have taken care in the choice of materials of QuickSplint and in the product labeling to make sure that a patient knows that QuickSplint is not appropriate for extended wear. Your patient can wear QuickSplint at night for a few days, up to 6 weeks. It is not for 24/7 wear. If you are not a dentist, you should instruct your patient to bring their QuickSplint and their Pain Tracker to their next dental appointment.