September 18

Treatment of TMJ problems with an occlusal splint

Treatment of TMJ problems with an occlusal splint

  • The purpose of this therapy is to influence your lower jaw to function freely and without pain. Many situations cause the malfunction of your lower jaw. Examples are accidents, surgery, developmental defects, peculiar oral habits, many fillings placed over numerous years, naturally occurring malocclusion (poor bite), orthodontics, psychological stress or other conditions. Stress is usually the over-riding influence in triggering pain.
  • You have received a plastic bite or occlusal splint. This TMJ treatment has been used for many years to keep the teeth from contacting during chewing and to allow the lower jaw to return to a comfortable hinged position without interference and guidance from the teeth. Muscle stresses are reduced and, hence, pain can be reduced or eliminated.
  • If the splint feels excessively tight when seating the appliance, place in hot water for approximately one minute and insert in mouth 2-3 times to loosen thermoplastic. If your condition is a temporomandibular disorder, you should wear the splint at night and during the day if muscle tension is excessive. Long distance driving is a common time to hold muscle tension in the jaw. Many fillings placed in your mouth over the years or other conditions have caused your teeth to meet in a position your jaws cannot tolerate. The splint eliminates tooth-to-tooth contact. Your symptoms will gradually disappear while wearing the splint and your natural teeth, bridges and/or fillings may need to be adjusted by us to the new bite. This procedure is called an occlusal equilibration. After equilibration, you will wear your splint only at night. After a period of time, you may not wear the splint at all unless active bruxing habits are noted. The described treatment usually requires from a few weeks to several months.
  • If the splint is out of your mouth for any reason, your teeth may not meet in harmony. This is to be expected because of muscle relaxation while wearing the splint. Occlusal equilibration will eliminate this improper meeting of the teeth, allowing the bite to match the hinge of the joint.
  • Brushing the inside and outside of the splint and soaking for 20 minutes in a denture cleaning solution is recommended. When traveling brushing is usually adequate when soaking is inconvenient. Soaking the appliance all day can result in staining between the laminated layers of plastic.

Please call if you have any questions or difficulty.


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