If you have been experiencing pain or tenderness around your face or jaw, you may be suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. TMJ disorder can develop due to a number of different causes, but there is a common method used to fix the issue, called splint therapy. Dr. Klayman at Red Bank Smiles is proud to offer this procedure as an option for his patients to help relieve their dental pain. If you believe that you may be a candidate to undergo splint therapy, learn more about what the process entails and how it can fix the pain in your jaw.
TMJ disorder stems from pain in your jaw muscles that are the result of uncomfortable positioning that puts them under strain. To fix this issue, Dr. Klayman will affix you with a splint, otherwise known as a mouth guard or mouthpiece, which will help reduce this tension. These splints are made from soft or hard plastic and can cover all of your teeth or just a certain area that is causing you pain. Splint therapy can last anywhere between a couple of weeks to a few months, depending on the specific issue that is being corrected. After the designated period of time has concluded, you will be evaluated to see if the splint has successfully relaxed your jaw muscles, or if another step needs to be taken.
Types of TMJ Splints
Since there are different ways to treat TMJ disorder, there are varying types of TMJ splints that can be used during splint therapy. These splints break down into a couple of categories depending on their purpose, including:
- Permissive: This type of splint stabilizes your mouth to keep your teeth in the correct position when your jaw is closed. Permissive splints allow the jaw and teeth to move freely, but deliver support that helps maintain a proper resting point. These splints are used most commonly among patients.
- Nonpermissive: This type of splint is more restrictive, with ramps or indentations that direct the movement of your jaw. The goal of nonpermissive splints is to reposition your teeth and jaw into a more comfortable position that will prevent further pain. These splints are typically required to be worn throughout the day to keep your jaw constantly aligned.
Difference from Night Guards
The description of TMJ splints may sound similar to a night guard, but there are some key differences between the two. Night guards are intended to keep people from clenching or grinding their teeth at night, which can cause a host of dental issues. A night guard will protect your teeth from coming into contact with each other but does not have the vertical support offered by TMJ splints. Additionally, TMJ splints will position your jaw into an ideal position for resting, while that is not the goal of using a night guard. Patients are also directed to wear TMJ splints during the day, while the grinding that is impeded by a night guard usually only happens when someone is sleeping. If you suffer from teeth grinding or clenching, see how Red Bank Smiles can help you prevent tooth wear.
Seek Relief from Your Dental Pain
Participating in dental splint therapy will help cease jaw pain caused by strained muscles. Finding out what is causing this pain and which type of splint will be the best in correcting it are important steps that have to be completed before you can start. At Red Bank Smiles, our team will consult with you to diagnose the issue and find the right solution to fit your needs. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.