Could a TMJ orthotic appliance be your treatment option?
A TMJ orthotic can physically change the position of your lower jaw altering how your upper and lower jaws meet. Also known as a TMJ bite splint, this simple device can help your teeth come together in a more balanced position. This can, in turn, can help to resolve your TMJD symptoms.
Not to be confused with similar appliances used for teeth grinding or sleep apnea, this relatively simple piece of plastic can help to bring relief to the overworked muscles of your neck and face.
A TMJ orthotic is very natural looking and functional. It:
- looks very lifelike
- doesn’t impede your speech or ability to chew comfortably
- feels like normal teeth
- is very inconspicuous
Balance is the key
With a TMJ orthotic in place, your jaw muscles can find their most comfortable, natural “resting place”. This often resolves painful TMJ symptoms. That’s because the TMJ orthotic works to return balance to your bite, mouth and jaw. This more balanced state helps to reduce or eliminate the stress, strain, pressure and pain that can build up in your jaw, face, neck, shoulders, back and the rest of your body when your bite is misaligned.
Will your orthotic last forever?
While a TMJ orthotic appliance can help to:
- relieve your pain
- equalize your jaw muscle activity
- achieve a more ideal joint positioning
- create more even tooth contact
you need to wear it often to achieve the best results.
As with many other man-made things, over time your TMJ orthotic can start to wear down. For this reason, many patients pursue phase 2 TMJ treatment options after the orthotic appliance has relaxed their jaw muscles and relieved their symptoms.
The objective of phase 2 TMJ treatment is to bring a more permanent physiological balance to your bite through the use of restorative dental treatments like crowns and bonding, or by moving teeth to the correct bite position with orthodontic treatment.
Long-term removable orthotic appliances
For patients who do not want to undergo orthodontic treatment or dental restorations, a removable long term TMJ orthotic appliance that will not wear down as easily can be made.
A TMJ orthotic is not a grinding guard
Many people are prescribed a grinding guard to protect their teeth from nighttime teeth grinding. While grinding guards are effective in minimizing damage to the teeth at night, they do not correct unbalanced bites.
In fact, if you have an misaligned, or “bad” bite, a grinding guard can move your lower jaw into a worse position, intensifying your TMJ symptoms over time.
Because tooth grinding is a common symptom of an unbalanced bite, we prefer to investigate and treat what is causing the tooth grinding rather than just treating the symptom.
Learn more about TMJ orthotics
A TMJ orthotic can help to correct your bite and decrease your pain symptoms, but the only way to know if it will be the best treatment option for you is to schedule a consultation with Lethbridge dentist Dr. Lachman.
Once a comprehensive exam has been completed, he can work with you to find an appropriate treatment option.