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What Is an Oral Splint and When Is it Used?
Posted on 5/15/2020 by Young Jun DDS MD FACS
If you have an accident in the woods and hurt your ankle, you may try to fashion a splint to help you walk out of the woods. Most people are familiar with this type of splint, but there are other types of splints you may not know about. An oral splint is one of those types. More people get oral splints than you may realize, and it is worth learning when they will help.
Oral Splints and TMJ
Temporomandibular joint disorders refer to issues people have with the joint that connect the jaw to the skull. Issues with the TMJ can lead to a variety of symptoms that range from minor to debilitating. Many people ignore the symptoms they suffer from TMJ disorders, but they don't have to. One of the tools used to help deal with TMJ are oral splints. Some may confuse braces with oral splints. Braces work to move the teeth around until they are properly aligned. You can wear braces for a few months or for a much longer period of time. Oral splints are in place for a short period of time. They do not permanently move any of the structures of the teeth and jaw. Oral splints are usually made out of plastic and custom fitted to the individual. They include bite plates and mouthguards. They fit between or over the upper and lower teeth and are usually removable.
What Do They Do?
The main question people have is what do oral splints do to help with TMJ disorders. When in place they can help relieve some of the muscle tension that causes the pain or discomfort of the TMJ. They can also help stabilize the jaw by preventing the clenching and grinding of the teeth. Oral splints are typically worn at night while sleeping. The amount of time you need them depends on the severity of the problem. Once the splints reduce the tension, you may not need them. If you continue to struggle with bruxism and teeth grinding, you may need to wear them for a longer period of time. Learn more about this and other oral health issues by scheduling an appointment and coming in to talk to our dental professionals.