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Michigan
Splint

This is a hard acrylic device which sits over the upper teeth.

It is used in cases where people’s bites are causing damage to their teeth, or to help protect heavily restored or newly restored teeth and/or dental implants.It fits snugly over the teeth but is very comfortable to wear.The process of making one of these splints takes a minimum of three appointments:

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1. A small acryliclucia jig is constructed directly in the patient’s mouth to deprogram the muscles which move the jaw, this allows the jaw to relax into a more ‘retruded’ relationship. This is the relationship in which a Michigan splint should ideally be constructed.

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2. Accurate impressions and the relationship of the upper and lower jaws are recorded when in the relaxed retruded position. The location of the upper teeth in relation to the jaw joints is also recorded.

These records are then sent to the technician who makes models from the impressions and carefully sets up the teeth on an articulator, whichmimics the movements of the jaw.

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Wax is laid down over the upper teeth and sculpted to set up the principles of an ‘ideal occlusion’.

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Once this has been done, the wax is replaced for acrylic and the splint is polished and finished.

3. The splint is fitted onto the upper teeth and fine adjustments are made as necessary.

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4. Sometimes it is necessary to review how people are biting on their splints as some patients’ jaws will not readily relax into the retruded relationship. In such instances it may be necessary to wear a splint for at least 3 months before the jaw relaxes more.

Michigan splints are usually worn at night time if nocturnal grinding or clenching is suspected. Some patients will benefit from wearing their splint at other times, for example if they spend lots of time on the road and grip or grind their teeth when driving.

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