facebook-pixel
Logo

Pain Conditions

Search Pain Conditions by Body Map

Enquiry Form

Error: Contact form not found.

Success

Item Added

Success: You have added product to your shopping cart!

Specialty:

Clinical Interest:

Clinic Location:

Contact:
Doctor’s Consultation Hours

Experience:

Home > Understanding TMJ Splints: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients

Our News

Understanding TMJ Splints: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients

Share:

Last Updated on July 28, 2023

TMJ disorders can cause significant discomfort and pain for those affected. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts as a hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. When this joint becomes misaligned or damaged, it can lead to various symptoms, including jaw pain, headaches, and difficulty in opening and closing the mouth.  

Fortunately, TMJ splints offer relief to patients suffering from TMJ disorders. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what TMJ is, how it affects patients, the role of TMJ splints in alleviating symptoms, finding the right fit for your needs, the timeframe for the splints to work, alternative treatments, and home remedies. 

What is TMJ and How It Affects Patients 

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a complex joint responsible for the movements of the jaw. TMJ disorders refer to a group of conditions that affect this joint, causing pain and discomfort. The exact causes of TMJ disorders can vary, including factors such as teeth grinding, jaw clenching, joint inflammation, or trauma.  

Patients with TMJ disorders often experience symptoms like jaw pain, clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing the mouth, headaches, earaches, and difficulty chewing or speaking. 

Living with TMJ disorders can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life. The pain and discomfort associated with TMJ can make simple tasks like eating, speaking, or even smiling a challenge. It can lead to anxiety, stress, and a decreased ability to perform daily activities. Seeking appropriate treatment, such as TMJ splints, can provide much-needed relief and improve overall well-being. 

TMJ ear pain

What is TMJ Splint and How They Help Alleviate TMJ pain 

TMJ splints, also known as occlusal splints or bite guards, are custom-made oral appliances designed to fit over the teeth. They serve multiple purposes in the treatment of TMJ disorders.  

  1. The primary function of a TMJ splint is to stabilize the jaw joint and promote proper alignment of the jaw. By doing so, splints help to alleviate pain, reduce muscle tension, and prevent further damage to the joint.
  2. TMJ splints work by creating a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, preventing them from grinding or clenching together. This helps to minimize the pressure on the TMJ and the surrounding muscles, allowing them to relax and heal. Additionally, splints can help to protect the teeth from the effects of teeth grinding, which can lead to dental problems such as worn enamel, tooth fractures, or loosening of the teeth.

Finding the Right Fit for Your Needs 

Determining the most suitable TMJ splint for your needs involves a thorough evaluation by a dentist or TMJ specialist. They will consider various factors to make an informed decision. The two main types of TMJ splints are permissive and nonpermissive. 

Permissive Splints 

Permissive splints, also known as stabilisation splints, are designed to provide support and stability to the jaw joint. These splints aim to create an even bite and allow the jaw to find its optimal position naturally. By promoting a balanced bite alignment, permissive splints help reduce muscle tension and provide relief from TMJ-related symptoms. They are generally more comfortable to wear and can be used for long-term management of TMJ disorders. 

 

Nonpermissive splints 

Nonpermissive splints, such as repositioning or orthotic splints, are specifically designed to guide the jaw into a predetermined position. These splints may have inclined surfaces or ramps that help correct misalignments or malocclusions in the bite. Nonpermissive splints are customised to fit the individual’s jaw and are intended to reposition the jaw joint and alleviate TMJ symptoms. They are often used for more complex cases where bite alignment issues need to be addressed. 

 

How Long Does It Take for TMJ Splint to Work? 

The timeframe for TMJ splints to work can vary from patient to patient. The healing process depends on factors such as the severity of the TMJ disorder, individual response to treatment, and compliance with wearing the splint as prescribed. In some cases, individuals may experience immediate relief, while others may require several weeks or even months of consistent use before noticing significant improvements. 

Consistently wearing the splint as directed, especially during sleep or times of heightened jaw activity, can optimize the effectiveness of the treatment. 

What Happens if TMJ Does Not Get Better with TMJ Splint? 

Although TMJ splints are frequently recommended to alleviate TMJ symptoms, there are instances where the symptoms persist despite their use. If you have been using a TMJ splint and continue to experience ongoing pain and discomfort, it may be advisable to consult with a maxillofacial specialist or an otolaryngologist (also known as an ear, nose, and throat doctor or ENT specialist) for further evaluation and confirmation of the diagnosis.  

If reversible mechanical causes have been ruled out, a pain specialist specialising in jaw disorders can provide treatment and management for TMJ pain using a multi-dimensional approach, considering the functional pain syndrome. This comprehensive approach aims to address the complex nature of TMJ pain and its associated factors.  

In addition to professional medical care, incorporating physical exercises and home remedies can be beneficial for managing TMJ disorders. 

Ways to help you feel better when TMJ Splint is not working 

Home Treatment 

In the majority of cases, isolated and sporadic symptoms of TMJ disorders are typically mild and temporary. They often appear intermittently without exacerbation and tend to resolve without requiring extensive medical investigations. During such instances, home treatments can be highly effective in managing these mild symptoms. Implementing self-care practices like applying heat or cold packs, engaging in relaxation techniques, maintaining good posture, and adjusting the diet to include softer foods can effectively alleviate discomfort and promote relaxation of the jaw.  

TMJ Cold Compress 

Physical Exercises for TMJ Disorders 

Physical exercises can play a supportive role in managing TMJ disorders. Specific exercises designed to improve jaw mobility, strengthen supporting muscles, and reduce tension can provide relief and promote better jaw function. These exercises may include gentle jaw stretches, resistance exercises using your fingers, and jaw-opening and closing movements.  

 

Minimally Invasive Treatment Methods 

At Singapore Paincare, we emphasise the effectiveness and advantages of non-invasive approaches in managing TMJ pain. By opting for non-invasive treatments, patients can experience relief from their symptoms while minimizing the risks, complications, and downtime associated with surgical procedures. Non-invasive methods offer a safer and gentler approach that focuses on the removal of pain generators through specialized injections and minimally invasive procedures.They allow individuals to address their TMJ pain effectively while minimizing the potential drawbacks associated with more invasive approaches. 

 

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) 

One such non-invasive treatment option for TMJ disorders is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection. PRP therapy involves using a patient’s own blood plasma, enriched with a high concentration of platelets, to promote natural healing and tissue regeneration. This minimally invasive procedure is performed by injecting PRP directly into the affected area, stimulating the body’s self-healing mechanisms. PRP injections can help reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and promote the repair of damaged tissues, providing significant relief for TMJ-related symptoms. 

PRP Treatment

Botulinum Toxin Injection 

Another effective non-invasive treatment option for TMJ disorders is the use of botulinum toxin injections. Botulinum toxin can be strategically injected into specific jaw muscles to relax them, reducing muscle tension and relieving TMJ pain. By targeting the overactive muscles responsible for TMJ-related symptoms, botulinum toxin injections can effectively alleviate pain, improve jaw function, and enhance the overall quality of life for patients with TMJ disorders. 

At Singapore Paincare, we emphasise the effectiveness and advantages of non-invasive approaches in managing TMJ pain. By opting for non-invasive treatments, patients can experience relief from their symptoms while minimizing the risks, complications, and downtime associated with surgical procedures. Non-invasive methods offer a safer and gentler approach that focuses on the removal of pain generators through specialized injections and minimally invasive procedures.They allow individuals to address their TMJ pain effectively while minimizing the potential drawbacks associated with more invasive approaches. 

  

Conclusion 

TMJ splints can play a significant role in alleviating the symptoms and preventing the worsening of TMJ disorders. These custom-made oral appliances provide stability to the jaw joint, promote proper alignment, and help reduce pain and muscle tension. However, in cases where the pain becomes unbearable or persists despite the use of splints, there are non-invasive treatment options available.   

At Singapore Paincare, our pain doctors specialise in managing pain related to TMJ disorders and can provide comprehensive evaluations and personalised treatment plans tailored to your specific needs. If you are experiencing severe or persistent TMJ pain, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our pain doctor to explore alternative treatment options and find relief from your discomfort. 

 

 

Tags
temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
Read More About
TMJ

Don’t Let Pain Hold You Back

Find a Pain Doctor in your area and take control of your pain

Enquire Now

Search

Subscribe to Newsletter

Get health tips from doctors and experts straight into your inbox

Translate »