For those suffering from jaw pain, TMJ and the effects of teeth grinding, relief can be hard to come by. These symptoms are caused by a clenching and a grinding process called bruxism, which is involuntary and believed to be caused by stress.
Dental & Occlusal Splint for TMJ
The good news is there are treatments that can be quite effective. One of the best is a dental splint, which also goes by the technical name of the occlusal splint.
Bruxism, Teeth Clenching, & Grinding Symptoms
The symptoms of bruxism are often fairly obvious. As the upper and lower teeth make contact during bruxism, teeth can be gradually worn down and even shortened, and this can cause sensitivity, fractures and damage to the enamel over time.
When professional dentists see these issues, an occlusal splint is one of the most commonly prescribed solutions to help protect teeth. It’s made of high-quality acrylic plastic, and the occlusal splint is usually form-fitted after the treating dentist takes X-rays and analyzes the extent of the damage from bruxism.
Splint Mouth Guard Job
The job of the splint is to keep the upper and lower teeth from touching, and it’s also designed to absorb the full force of the bite when the wearer tries to initiate grinding. It doesn’t prevent bruxism from occurring, but it does help the jaw maintain a neutral position that relieves some of the pressure on the jaw joint while diminishing the destructive effects of bruxism. This makes it different from a mouth guard, which is designed to provide basic protection from blows and falls among those who play sports.
For many people who suffer from bruxism, the occlusal splint is a short-term solution. Children who are diagnosed with bruxism often outgrow it as they reach adulthood, but for some, the splint may become a long-term answer. The splint can become worn down in severe cases, however, so it may have to be replaced over time if this level of bruxism persists.
Contact & Make an Appointment With Your Dentist for a Treatment or a Splint Mouth Guard
The takeaway from all this is simple. If you’re having jaw issues or tooth pain that you think may be related to bruxism, contact your dentist and make an appointment. An occlusal splint may or may not be part of the solution, but the most important thing is to have the situation diagnosed and treated by a professional as quickly as possible. Make sure the pain or discomfort doesn’t go any further.