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TMJ & Occlusal Splints

Many people have experienced teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism), especially during sleep. Many more people suffer from headaches, neck aches and jaw aches. Some people can wake up with jaw muscle tension or pain and feel tired all day.

As dentists, we’re often asked how to address these issues. Occlusal dental splints can be prescribed to help in each of these problem areas. Here is some basic information on occlusal splints for you.

Occlusal  splints to treat tension headaches, neck aches and/or jaw joint problems.

These range from upper or lower night guards/occlusal splints/bite plates. A properly adjusted appliance or splint is designed to:

  • Protect the teeth from wear
  • Relieve pressure from the jaw joints
  • Take tension out of the muscles of the jaw, head and neck
  • Eliminate head neck and jaw pain
  • Improve energy

Often what is not understood is that when you are given a splint, you’re actually getting a course of treatment. That is, the splint may need to be adjusted over time and rebalanced as it wears.

The device.

An occlusal splint is a slim hard acrylic guard fitted to the upper or lower jaw and covering the biting surfaces of your upper or lower teeth. It is designed to be worn at night. An occlusal splint will not stop you from grinding or clenching. It does however, guide the jaw into a neutral position which relieves some of the pressure on the jaw joint and very effectively protects your teeth against the destructive forces of bruxism.