Dental splints are the most common dental
temporomandibular disorders (TMDs). These splints are used for short periods of time. They do not cause permanent changes in the teeth or jaw.
Dental splints, also called occlusal splints, include bite plates and mouth guards. They are custom-made by a dentist. They are typically made of clear plastic. They fit between and over the upper and
Dental splints can help ease muscle tension
and stabilize the jaw. They do this by preventing grinding and
clenching of the jaw (bruxism) that might be causing muscle tension and pain.
Splints are worn mostly at night, because people tend to
clench or grind their teeth during sleep. 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.
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. This may allow a displaced disc to return to its
Many people who have TMDs find splint therapy helpful for
treating pain and muscle tension.
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ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerArden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry