TMJ pain is something that can be debilitating. Fortunately most TMJ issues can be treated non-surgically. A common question that patients ask is do I have to wear this plastic TMJ splint the rest of my life? “
“Wearing a large plastic removable splint is not practical or functional for most patients who are seeking a long term solution.”
If one peruses the Internet they will find a wide range of websites with information on a numerous types of treatment. A common treatment that one will find is about using a “splint”. It is important to understand that a splint is simply a plastic piece that many dentist place between the teeth to try and eliminate TMD issues. The majority of these types of splints are simply made to an arbitrary bite position and hoping that it will work. They can work in some cases, however, in many cases they do not and can make patients worse.
Additionally, common concerns with this arbitrary splint are:
- Inability to speak well with the splint in place
- Inability to eat with the splint
- Having to wear the appliance the rest of their life
- Lack of long term solution
There are better solutions for many cases. Rather than arbitrarily place a removable appliance between the teeth, technology has allows advanced TMJ dentists who are trained in physiologic TMJ treatment to find the correct physiologic position of the bite so the muscles, joints, teeth, and neck can work together in harmony. It is imperative to look at the whole system, not just the teeth.
Utilization of what we term, a fixed orthotic, with the bite determined physiologically with aid of computerized muscle reading, electrosongraphy, 3D imaging and working the the neck as well, allows a test drive with the new bite. This looks and feels much more natural than a “splint” and is functional in terms of eating, speaking, and swallowing with this fixed appliance which also looks like teeth. The fixed orthotic can be adjusted by adding to or balancing this as ones muscles, joints, and neck return to a more normal physiologic position for comfort and stability.
This not only helps the patient feel better but also gives direction as to the non-surgical options for the next phase of treatment, which is long term stabilization.
If you have any questions about Houston TMJ Pain, please feel free to contact our office, Ronald W. Konig DDS, FAGD, LVIF, (713) 248-8868