Bruxism–teeth clenching–can be very damaging to your teeth. If can lead to chips, cracks, and excessive wear on your front teeth. Porcelain veneers are perfect for repairing this type of damage, but there’s only one problem. Bruxism can do the same damage to your porcelain veneers that it did to your natural teeth.

The good news is that if you wear a bite splint, it can protect your porcelain veneers, and a new study confirms that they’re very effective.

The Impact of Bruxism on Porcelain Veneers

This recent study looked at the survival rates of porcelain veneers in patients with and without bruxism. They looked at the survival rate of 323 porcelain veneers placed in 70 patients, 40 of whom had no bruxism and 30 who had bruxism. Of the 30 with bruxism 15 used a bite splint while 15 did not.

The impact of bruxism on the survival of veneers is striking. Of 153 veneers placed in patients without bruxism, there were five fractures (about 3.2%) over the up to seven years of the study. Of the 81 veneers placed in patients with bruxism who weren’t using their bite splint, there were seven fractures (about 8.9%). That means that porcelain veneers are nearly three times as likely to fracture in patients with bruxism as in patients without.

The Protective Benefit of a Bite Splint

Even more striking, though, is the protective effect of wearing a bite splint. Of the 89 veneers placed in patients with bruxism who wore their bite splint, there was only one fracture! That’s a failure rate of only 1.1%, about a third of that for people without bruxism, and about an eighth of that among people with bruxism who didn’t wear their bite splint.

On the other hand, bite splints aren’t perfect protection. The bite splint didn’t reduce the number of debondings patients with bruxism experienced. Debondings are when porcelain veneers come off. It’s not usually thought of as a failure because the porcelain veneer can just be replaced.

Patients without bruxism had seven total debondings (4.6%), compared to a total of 22 among patients with bruxism (12.9%). The percentage was about the same without the bite splint (12.3%) as with (13.4%).

Even You Can Get Porcelain Veneers

If you’ve suffered tooth damage because of bruxism, you might have been disappointed to hear you weren’t a candidate for porcelain veneers. But you are–if you get a bite splint to control your bruxism and protect your veneers.

We commonly use bite splints for bruxism and TMJ treatment as well as in combination with cosmetic dentistry. If you would like to learn whether you’re a candidate, please call (843) 706-2999 for an appointment with a Hilton Head cosmetic dentist at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.