An Occlusal Splint Could Change Your Life

Too many adults deal with dreadful migraines on a regular basis and jaw joint pain that prevents them from enjoying a meal comfortably. TMD (temporomandibular disorder) can be treated using occlusal splint therapy.

In order to correctly adjust someone’s bite, we must first get the jaw joint into an ideal position.  A reversible and non-invasive way to approach these problems is appliance therapy.  Let’s take a look at a couple types of splint therapy.

Permissive splints are fit for the upper or lower teeth and allow the jaw joint to relax by covering up the chewing surfaces that might prevent the jaw from finding it’s comfort zone.  Often times, when you have a crown that’s too high or sensitive teeth, you chew more on one side than the other.  Your natural reaction is to avoid discomfort.  Over time, the muscles that help you chew and talk get into a spasm.  Adjusting your bite by grinding away enamel wouldn’t make sense until things settle down.  The smooth and flat plastic surface on this type of occlusal splint allows the jaw to close and slide freely.  This, in turn, gives the jaw joint a chance to regain a more balanced resting point.

Non-permissive or directive splints have ramps and/or indentations meant to limit movement of the lower jaw.  This type of splint enhances the healing process and is only used for very specific types of jaw disorders.  Its purpose is to guide your jaw joint into the correct position.

Splints serve several purposes like protecting the teeth from abnormal wear, relaxing the muscles, providing diagnostic information about your bite, and reducing pain.  Once a patient is fitted with a custom made splint, they can expect to have some adjustments to it or even to your natural teeth.  Splint therapy is an important part of comprehensive care and is often needed prior to new crowns and bridges.  Having an ideal bite and correctly positioned jaw joint could save thousands of dollars in future dental work.  The successful treatment of chronic pain could potentially save a life.