How long is splint therapy for? I have had an MRI which showed that my disks were not displaced, but according to what MRI reading I want to believe, I may or may not have errosion in one condyle. My tmj specialist said the tomo's show one of my condyles is posteriorly displaced. He thinks I have a displaced disk (I have a lot of noise in the joint) and wants to put me in a repositioning splint to move my jaw forward.
Splint therapy is supposed to last around 6 months, but for some people, depending on their condition, it could last much longer than that. It is known as a conservative, or 'non-invasive' form of treatment, meaning that it is generally safe. You have to realize, though, that in the field of TMJ treatment, some dentists are skeptical about the safety of repositioning splints because these splints actually move the jaw in a different position; many dentists maintain that this form of treatment is completely safe. However, I think the success of your treatment does not depend on which splint you have per se but on how good your dentist is. Also, be aware that splint therapy can be expensive depending on who you see. If you end up paying more than 1500 dollars for the splint alone, that may not sound good. 2000 dollars for total treatment is considered an average price; some end up paying up to four or five thousand. Before you agree to splint therapy, make sure your dentist tells you why exactly he wants you to have a splint. If he cannot give you a clear answer, you have a right to question his opinion.
Do you know if splint therapy can actually displace a disk or cause other problems? My MRI has been read twice and both times they said no displaced disks....but, you can hear and feel the disk moving around and with the condyle on that side being displaced. the tmj specialist is certain that the disk is displaced. Right now my opening is in the normal range (this after PT and some trigger point injections), so basically I think they are doing the repositioning splint because of my bite, the one displaced condyle and the one disk being displaced. I just don't understand why the MRI's show everything to be fine and how one radiologist said mild errosion in the condyle and the other reading said healthy condyles....and then the tomo's show displaced....it is very confusing to know what to do. My entire therapy is going to be over twice what you mentioned. But, it is for over a year of splint therapy treatment....that sounds like a long time to be in a splint.
I've never heard of splint therapy displacing a disk. I think your problem may be that your ligaments are loose, causing the disk to slide off sometimes when you open and close -- the disk is not displaced, but you may have what is called a 'loose socket', meaning that the ligaments are not tight. I may be wrong, though, so don't take my word on this. Of all the tests you had, the MRI should be the most telling. The MRI is the only one which can determine for certain if your disks are in place. X-rays only show bone, and jaw-tracking tests only operate on sound waves, but MRI's show muscles and ligaments. Moreover, your disks may be slightly off -- that would explain the conflicting reports: They may be in place enough for the MRI to show normal results, but off enough to pick up the sounds when you open and close. Once again, this is only guesswork. Your dentists/physicians are in a better situation to judge.
If you have a bad bite, maybe it will be a good idea to go with therapy, since a bad bite may aggravate the problem over time....Perhaps others on this board may have more helpful advice for you.