What mouthguard or splint do I need for my TMJ treatment ?
Updated: Apr 8
As a dentist with a special interest in TMJ treatment, I often get asked about mouthguards and splints. Patients want to know what types of appliances are available, and which one is the best fit for their specific TMJ condition. In this blog, I'll explain the different types of mouthguards and splints, and help you determine which one is the right choice for you.
First, let's start with the basics. Mouthguards and splints are both types of appliances that are worn over your teeth. They can help to protect your teeth, reduce jaw pain and discomfort, and improve your overall oral health. However, there are some key differences between the two.
Mouthguards are typically used to protect your teeth from damage during sports or other physical activities. They're made of soft, flexible materials that are designed to cushion your teeth from impact. While mouthguards can help to reduce the risk of tooth damage, they don't typically address TMJ pain or discomfort.
Splints, on the other hand, are designed specifically for TMJ treatment. They're typically made of hard acrylic and are custom-fitted to your teeth. Splints can help to reduce TMJ pain and discomfort by repositioning your jaw and reducing the amount of pressure on your TMJ joint.
So, what types of splints are available? There are three main types:
Occlusal splints: These are the most common type of splint and are used to treat mild to moderate cases of TMJ disorder. They work by reducing the amount of pressure on your teeth and jaw joint, which can help to alleviate pain and discomfort.
Anterior repositioning splints: These splints are used to treat more severe cases of TMJ disorder. They work by repositioning your jaw to a more forward position, which can help to reduce pressure on your TMJ joint.
Stabilization splints: These splints are used to treat patients who grind or clench their teeth (a condition known as bruxism). They're designed to keep your teeth in a stable position and prevent them from grinding against each other.
So, which type of splint do you need? That depends on your specific TMJ condition. If you're experiencing mild to moderate TMJ pain or discomfort, an occlusal splint may be the right choice for you. If you have a more severe case of TMJ disorder, an anterior repositioning splint may be necessary. And if you're grinding or clenching your teeth, a stabilization splint may be the best option.
Ultimately, the best way to determine which type of mouthguard or splint is right for you is to schedule an appointment with a dentist who has a special interest in TMJ treatment. They can evaluate your condition and recommend the best course of treatment.
In conclusion, mouthguards and splints can be effective tools for protecting your teeth and reducing TMJ pain and discomfort. By understanding the different types of appliances available and consulting with a TMJ dentist, you can find the right mouthguard or splint to improve your oral health and overall quality of life.