TM Disorders: Dental Splints

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TM Disorders: Dental Splints

Topic Overview

Dental treatment is sometimes used to treat temporomandibular (TM) disorders. Splints (bite plates, mouth guards), which are custom-made by a dentist, fit between the upper and lower teeth. They may be used for short periods of time to ease muscle tension and stabilize the jaw. Splints are worn mostly at night, because people tend to clench or grind their teeth during sleep.

In cases of disc displacement and muscle spasm, you may be advised to wear a splint during the day and at night for about 2 weeks, and then only at night during times of stress and pain. It may not be easy to get used to wearing and caring for your splint, but it is an important treatment that may last for 3 months or more.

Many people who have TM disorders find splint therapy helpful for treating pain and muscle tension.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry
Last Revised April 15, 2010

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