Chronic jaw pain is often due to TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. This disorder is caused by many factors, including stress, anatomy, chronic teeth grinding, and trauma to the jaw or teeth. Treatments for TMD vary, but one of the most effective solutions is a TMJ splint.
Splint therapy supports the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) by stabilizing the mouth and keeping the teeth and jaw in an aligned position. TMJ splints can be worn both day and night to eliminate the symptoms of TMD and reduce dental pain, damage, and discomfort.
What Happens When I Get a TMJ Splint?
Apart from teeth grinding, or bruxism, TMJ disorders stem from a variety of factors. Splints allow jaw muscles and ligaments to relax, preventing teeth grinding, clenching, and other jaw reactions that can cause discomfort and pain. TMD may also be caused by either an underbite or an overbite, which splints can correct when worn.
Your TMJ splint will cover your teeth or jaw and will be made out of a material that suits your needs. This treatment solution starts with an initial appointment, and treatment will depend on the severity of the disorder, your anatomy, and our dentist’s recommendations.
Here is the general outline of what treatment will be like:
- Exam: Our dental team will help us understand your symptoms. We will perform a comprehensive assessment of your bite, bone structure, and facial anatomy.
- Diagnosis: Using your scans and exam results, the dentist will determine how best to support your jaw-muscle function with the use of a TMJ splint.
- Treatment: You will receive a TMJ splint designed to address your unique issues to treat pain and discomfort, which may include a custom-fit appliance for your unique smile.
- Follow-up: Depending on the type of splint, we schedule follow-up appointments periodically to monitor your progress and adjust treatment if needed.
5 Types of TMJ Splints
With TMD producing a wide variety of symptoms, each type of TMJ splint serves a different purpose.
Typically made from a soft rubbery material, these splints are available at many local drug stores and pharmacies. These splints are designed to provide cushion and mild stabilization in your mouth to minimize TMD symptoms but are difficult to mold precisely to your teeth and are not suitable for moderate to severe cases of TMD.
Custom Flat Plane Splint
A flat plane splint is a mouth guard that fits over the upper row of teeth and protects the teeth and jaw with a full-coverage appliance made from solid material. The flat surface serves to reduce bruxism and provide muscle relief but does not address jaw clenching and pressure, as the lower teeth maintain mobility.
TMJ Night Guard
Smaller than some other TMJ splints, a TMJ night guard is designed to protect and align your jaw while asleep by relieving pressure and preventing teeth grinding and clenching. Night guards are made from firm, molded plastic and can protect your teeth from damage. However, the minimal appliance cannot provide perfect jaw alignment.
Removable Neuromuscular Orthotic
These devices not only stabilize the jaw joint but also guide the jaw into place permanently. Removable orthotic devices work much like a cast for other broken or misaligned bones. An orthotic helps to relax and balance the jaw joints and muscles, but must generally be worn for 24 hours a day during the first phase of treatment.
Mandibular Advancement Device for Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Mandibular advancement device, or MAD, therapy is typically prescribed for patients with sleep apnea or severe snoring, but can also be used to reduce the symptoms of TMD. A MAD appliance adjusts the position of the jaw and tongue forward to clear the airway and support your mouth structure while at rest.
Benefits of TMJ Treatments
At Advanced Dentistry by Design, our dental team offers thorough and affordable TMD treatments in San Jose for patients with chronic pain, stiffness, and aches caused by TMD. Our treatments have a host of advantages:
- Reduced jaw pain.
- Fewer headaches.
- Dental protection.
- Jaw balance.
- Improved sleep.
- Easier jaw movements.
- Decreased risk of complications.
With the elimination of jaw pain and discomfort, you can wake up feeling more relaxed and ready to take on elements of your daily routine — eating, speaking, chewing, and smiling — that were once difficult or painful to accomplish.
To Stop TMJ Pain and Start Living, Contact Our Office Today!
If you’re tired of living with the symptoms of TMD, visit our office or call to schedule an appointment to discover how TMJ and TMD treatment can help.