Benefits of TMJ TreatmentsTMD is not a life-threatening problem, but treatment comes with a wide variety of benefits. Luckily, TMD can be treated by a dentist! By treating your TMD, you’ll find that you may:
- Sleep better.
- Have an easier time eating.
- Have fewer headaches.
- Have less jaw pain.
- Prevent future jaw, tooth, and gum damage.
- Neck tension.
- Fatigue from disrupted sleep.
- Chronic headaches.
- Tooth grinding or clenching (bruxism).
- Worn-away tooth enamel.
- Wearing down of gums.
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
- Joint or bone damage.
What Happens When I Get a TMJ Splint?The first step in getting a TMJ/TMD splint is visiting the dentist’s office. There, the dentist will:
- Listen to your symptoms.
- Examine your jaw.
- Determine whether or not a splint is the right method of treatment.
4 Types of TMJ Splints
Over-the-Counter GuardThis type of TMJ guard is what people typically imagine when they think of a mouth guard. These guards are generally soft plastic, and you can buy them at most grocery stores and drug stores. To fit an over-the-counter guard to your mouth, you put it in hot water before placing it in your mouth and biting down on it to make an impression of your teeth. Over-the-counter guards are cheaper than a custom splint or mouth guard, but they also are typically less effective as well as less comfortable.
Custom Flat Plane Splint / TMJ Night GuardA flat plane splint is a type of custom mouth guard that is fitted by a dentist. It covers all your upper teeth and is usually made of acrylic resin. The purpose of a flat plane splint, which is also often called a TMJ night guard, is to stabilize your jaw and relax the sore muscles of your TMJ. A flat plane splint is generally worn only at night.
Removable Neuromuscular OrthoticUnlike a flat plane splint, a removable neuromuscular orthotic covers only your bottom teeth. It also works to relieve your jaw pain. A removable neuromuscular orthotic is usually worn both day and night, and it is meant to gradually strengthen your jaw muscles and adjust your jaw position.
Mandibular Advancement Device for Sleep Apnea and SnoringA mandibular advancement device is similar to other types of mouth guards, but it is mostly used for sleep apnea and snoring rather than TMD. Sleep apnea is a medical condition that causes you to stop breathing repeatedly during the night. Sleep apnea comes with a variety of increased health risks since it disrupts your sleep, including an increased risk of:
- Heart disease.
- Heart failure.