As your orthodontist in Melbourne we know that for some people a retainer is not the best removable appliance to wear at night. An occlusal splint, also called a night guard, can not only hold the teeth in position but also has some additional benefits. It is custom fitted to the patient’s teeth like a retainer, but there is a layer of plastic between the teeth (preferably hard plastic). This layer is adjusted so that all of the teeth are touching evenly. If someone has the tendency to grind their teeth at night, this layer can prevent tooth wear even if grinding continues. If the patient does not have an optimal bite to begin with, the artificial bite created with the splint can sometimes be helpful in reducing TMJ symptoms. These symptoms are usually related to the frequency and intensity of the grinding, both of which have been found to be reduced with a well-adjusted night guard.