Understanding what a TMJ splint is
Patients with TMJ may have heard of the TMJ splint, also known as a appliance or mouth guard. It sounds like a good and efficient device but in many patients, it not only fails to relieve pain but can even make it worse in some cases
The explanation for this is quite simple. There are many underlying causes for TMJ, some of which may still be unknown. Therefore, in many cases of TMJ, the mouth guard may not be very effective because of the root of the problem, as in cases of a past history of trauma to the jaw area.
Many of these underlying causes also result in a deviation of the lower jaw. In these cases, the jaw fails to open or close normally because of the weakness and tension of the surrounding muscles.
A TMJ splint won’t work in this sort of condition because of the bite being crooked. Pain won’t be relieved permanently because the splint acts by keeping the mouth open for long durations of time. This will only cause temporary believe and will not succeed in keeping the pain at bay in the long run.
In advanced cases of TMJ, where arthritis has developed, the splint may actually end up worsening the symptoms instead of relieving them. It will then be painful to close the mouth and the end result may be having to keep your mouth in almost permanently open state.
While TMJ mouth guards may provide temporary relief, the long term side effects overshadow their temporary benefits. The true means to treat TMJ is to attack the root of the problem instead of using the equivalent of a disposable band-aid.
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