Splint Therapy for TMJ

Splint Therapy for TMJ

Dr. Mike Morris at Chittenden Sleep highlights the significant role of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which extends beyond its basic function as the connector between the jaw and skull. This joint is essential not only for speaking and chewing but also plays a role in our posture. However, its importance and frequent use can make it prone to various issues. TMD, or TMJ disorder, presents as swelling, pain, and discomfort in the jaw area and is often accompanied by symptoms like jaw locking and clicking sounds.

Fortunately, managing TMD can be quite straightforward. One effective method is splint therapy, where a custom-fitted device is used to alleviate stress on the joint and improve jaw alignment. This non-invasive approach can significantly reduce symptoms and improve joint function. If you’re experiencing symptoms of TMD, a consultation with a healthcare professional like Dr. Morris can provide clarity and lead to effective treatment options.

How TMJ is treated?

For treating TMJ, Dr. Mike Morris might recommend using a splint or an oral appliance. This device serves to reposition the jaw, reducing stress on the TMJ, much like how crutches assist in supporting a knee or ankle injury. Using an oral appliance involves fitting either the upper or lower teeth with a removable dental device, known as a splint. These splints are carefully designed and constructed in a dental laboratory to ensure a precise and individualized fit, providing effective relief from TMJ symptoms.

At Chittenden Sleep, such treatment is part of a comprehensive approach to managing TMJ disorders. The use of a splint can alleviate discomfort, improve jaw function, and help in the overall management of TMJ-related symptoms. If you’re experiencing TMJ issues, discussing these treatment options with a healthcare professional like Dr. Morris can be an important step towards finding relief and improving your quality of life.

The splints for treating TMJ are made using a dental impression of your teeth, guaranteeing a custom fit unique to your mouth. These are typically crafted from sturdy acrylic resin. After their creation, Dr. Mike Morris at Chittenden Sleep will carefully adjust and fit the splint to ensure it effectively eases pressure on your TMJ and aids in the healing process.

Patients are instructed to wear the splint according to the specific prescription (which could be during the day, at night, or both) and to attend regular follow-up appointments. These appointments are crucial for monitoring symptom progress and making any necessary adjustments to the splint. Dr. Morris will also provide comprehensive instructions on the proper maintenance and care of the splint.

This process is essential in managing TMJ disorders and ensuring the effectiveness of the treatment. Regular use of the splint as directed and proper care are key factors in achieving the best possible outcomes in alleviating TMJ-related symptoms.

Dr. Mike Morris explains that splints play a crucial role in alleviating TMJ symptoms by relaxing the jaw’s ligaments and muscles. This relaxation is particularly important in addressing unconscious habits like clenching and grinding, which are often significant contributors to TMJ pain.

Additionally, misalignments in the bite can be a key factor in TMD. Conditions such as overbites or underbites can put undue strain on the jaw, leading to TMD-related discomfort. The splint is designed to adjust the bite angle to a more natural and less stressful position, helping to alleviate this strain.

Furthermore, splints are effective in managing bruxism, which is the grinding or clenching of teeth. This management is vital in preventing further damage to the teeth. Common issues associated with bruxism, such as headaches, sore teeth, and excessive wear of the enamel, often result from both conscious and unconscious teeth grinding and clenching. By using a splint, patients can mitigate these effects and protect their oral health.

Type of Splints

Stabilization Splints – These splints are primarily used to relieve TMJ pressure caused by clenching, grinding, and other bruxism symptoms. Designed to cover all teeth, they are typically worn on the upper teeth and are used only at night.

Repositioning Splints – These are intended to correct bite alignment issues or occlusions. They help protect against TMJ pressure and are worn throughout the day. Repositioning splints are used continuously every day until the desired alignment is achieved.

Splints offer an effective solution for conditions like bruxism and occlusions, providing long-term resolution for the underlying issues. In some cases, however, “Phase II” treatments may be required to permanently adjust the jaw into the comfortable position achieved with these appliances. These treatments could include orthodontics, dental restorations, or, in more severe cases, surgery.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of TMD and are considering whether splints could be beneficial, scheduling a consultation with Dr. Mike Morris is a good starting point. During your appointment at Chittenden Sleep, a detailed examination will be conducted to address your specific concerns. In some instances, dental imaging may be necessary for a comprehensive understanding of the root causes. While TMD can be a complex condition, the treatments available are often effective in restoring full functionality and comfort for patients.