What is it?
Splint Therapy is often used to relieve symptoms and correct problems associated with TMJ Disorders. Splints are designed to alter the bite relationship and how the teeth come together, in an effort to improve overall jaw system stability.
Why is it performed?
A bite splint covering the teeth can reduce muscle forces related to clenching and grinding. A splint can perfect a poor bite to improve comfort. A splint can reduce the forces through the jaw joint bringing relief to a damaged joint.
What to expect during treatment?
Splint therapy is both diagnostic and therapeutic. Splints are used to evaluate the response of the jaw system to a positive change in the environment. If effective, positive results should occur within a short period of time. Sore muscles should feel better within a couple days. Sore joints should respond well within a few weeks. Many headaches are improved within 24 hours.
What to expect after treatment?
When splint therapy creates a positive result it leads the dentist to conclusions about the cause of the original symptoms. If it is thought that a poor bite was the main culprit, then after splint therapy the bite will be treated to stabilize it long term. This will involve bite therapy such as bite adjustment (equilibration), orthodontics, or some restorative dentistry, as needed. If sleep habits, such as clenching or grinding persist, then a splint may be worn every night indefinitely for protection.