TMJ disorder, which is sometimes referred to simply as TMD, affects countless individuals. In some people, the cause of their TMD is unknown, or it is directly related to trauma, poor posture, or other factors. In many cases, however, bruxism (habitual teeth grinding) is the culprit behind TMD. At Drs. Boyd, we can address this issue and the resulting TMD via custom-made occlusal splints. These small oral appliances can relieve stress on the jaw joints and protect your teeth from premature wear and tear.
Bruxism and TMD often occur due to occlusal problems — that is, problems with the way the teeth fit together. Occlusal issues may be due to misaligned teeth, past dental trauma, or improper jaw positioning. An occlusal splint gently repositions the lower jaw and prevents improper tooth contact at night. Thus, it can protect the teeth from the premature wear and tear that bruxism causes, as well as train the jaw to adopt a more appropriate resting position. An occlusal splint can thus relieve excessive stress on the TMJ joint and lead to a more relaxed, less painful jaw.
There are various types of occlusal splints, and each one is designed to address specific issues with the way the teeth fit together. When you visit your dentist in Midtown East to begin your TMJ therapy, they will evaluate your bite, your teeth, and other factors to determine which type of splint will be most effective for you.
There are a number of advantages that come with this type of TMJ therapy in Midtown East:
It may take you some time to adjust to wearing your occlusal splint. You may produce more saliva than usual because there is a foreign object in your mouth. You might also experience some mild discomfort, but the therapy should never be painful. In order for your splint to do its job well, you’ll need to consistently wear your it for as long as your dentist recommends — most patients need to wear their splint every night for at least three months to experience the best results.
During your treatment, it is important that you clean your splint daily in order to prevent bacteria buildup; simply rinse it and gently brush it with a mild cleanser. You may also need to periodically soak it in a mild cleansing solution.
If you ever have any questions or concerns while you’re using your occlusal splint, give our office a call. Our team of experienced dental professionals will give you the guidance you need to make your therapy successful.