The treatment for these disorders will often include the use of occlusal splints. The splint is not a soft mouthpiece like those used for sports. It is made from hardened acrylic, and is used to remove the tooth contacts that prevent the lower jaw from returning to its comfortable rest position.
We use two types of splint
· Full arch – This splint is made to cover all of the teeth on either the upper or lower jaw.
· NTI – This is a small splint fitting only the front teeth and is worn on a part-time basis, usually at night.
The type of splint Dr. Reynolds will recommend will depend on your diagnosis. He uses the NTI appliance often as a temporary appliance before equilibration, in order to relax the jaw muscles and reduce painful symptoms. The full arch splint many times is used as a long-term night time appliance. Sometimes, even after occlusal treatment, patients will continue to clench or grind their teeth during sleep. This splint is necessary to prevent recurrence of TMD symptoms due to unconscious movements.