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Types of Splints for TMJ Disorders

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Innovations in dentistry have seen even those with conditions deemed untreatable in the past get relief for the same. Though often associated with straight and white teeth, orthodontists also have solutions for one of the most troublesome yet common dental issues.

This is temporomandibular joint {TMJ} disorders. Jaw misalignment and bite problems characterize the condition. The causes of TMJ disorders range from age-related wear of your jawbone, clenching of the teeth and jaw, and stressful lifestyles to grinding of teeth.

The approaches to TMJ treatment include the use of orthodontic devices or appliances, stress-relieving exercises, and surgical interventions. The first treatment stage for TMJ disorders generally involves the use of splints. The first three months when wearing your splint are used by the dentist to determine the best bite alignment for you.

Furthermore, splints can be used as long-term solutions for TMJ disorders. They allow your muscles to relax, protect your teeth from the damage caused by your condition, and normalize the periodontal ligament. The following are the splint types that can be used for the management of TMJ disorders.

Over the Counter Splints

These are the cheapest ones available and are primarily meant to protect your teeth from the effects of TMJ disorders on your teeth. You can buy them without a dentist’s prescription. Even so, they do not contribute as much to the management of your disorder. They might also, at times, injure your gums.

Essix Retainers

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These clear retainers are meant to protect your teeth from the effects of mild TMJ disorders. Most patients will opt for these because they are inexpensive, comfortable, and light. Even so, an Essix retainer might not suffice for those who have severe tooth grinding because of their disorder.

Essix retainers are not meant to fix TMJ dysfunction or pain. For these, a dentist might recommend another treatment approach.

Flat Plane Bite Splint

This is a customized splint. It is primarily meant for the protection of your teeth from the effects of clenching and grinding. The flat plane bite splint is generally used at night and is thicker compared to the Essix retainers. To this end, it is often recommended for those who have a severe TMJ disorder.

The splint has a tight fit that negates the injuries commonly associated with over the counter splints. The tight fit also allows its use as a retainer.

Neuromuscular Orthotic Splint

This is an anatomically exact and neuromuscularly balanced splint designed using the latest dental technologies. The splints are meant to negate the jaw pain and dysfunction typical in TMJ disorders while protecting your teeth from the effects of the same.

Though worn most of the time, neuromuscular orthotic splints are removable. You thus can opt to wear them throughout or remove them when eating.

After your first stage of treatment with the above splints ends, you move to the second phase, where the dentist will make your achieved bite permanent. In this stage, he or she can prescribe removable orthotics or orthodontic appliances that straighten your teeth and jaws.

In severe cases, you will need a full reconstruction of your mouth’s arch.

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