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Splints? Which kind have worked for you?

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Old 09-04-2003, 12:40 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 80
looney HB User
Question Splints? Which kind have worked for you?

Dear Group,

I am very new to this board and to TMJ. I'm very frustrated and overwhelmed at all the conflicting information about the various forms of treatment out there. My condition I believe was caused by severe muscle spasm in my head and neck. About two months after having this muscle stuff going on, I developed TMJ symptoms (although I have an overbite and have been a grinder forever).

I've made phone calls to various dentists and orthodontists trying to decide what to do. I know I need a splint, and probably physical therapy, but which type of splint? As far as I can tell there is the neuromuscular splint and the (flat I think it is) splint worn at night which supposedly takes pressure off the joint and helps with grinding stuff.

I don't know what to do. There is just so much conflicting information. The neuro dentist tells me that wearing something at night only wouldn't be enough, and the orthodontist says that repositioning splints are too aggressive and fool around with muscle and jaw placement.

Oh, I don't know what to do. Can you help me by sharing your experiences? I don't feel equipped with the knowledge I need to make a decision at this point, but I'm suffering with so much tightness in my scalp and neck and jaw, it's not funny. I hope that I didn't let this go too long (9 months).

Please help,


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Old 09-04-2003, 05:56 PM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Bolingbrook, IL, USA
Posts: 129
Puzzled HB User

It is very frustrating, I agree. I can't tell you what to do as different things work for different people. I have tight neck muscles, and clenching problems causing molar tooth pain and facial/jaw pain. I clenched so bad I cracked a molar and had to have that pulled. I did not find relief from a lower splint - the dentist tried two different lower splints. However, a night guard on the top did help somewhat as well as medication. That is just my experience. Unfortunately, others will have opposite ones. The important thing I think is to try one and know if that doesn't work that there are other alternatives waiting. Good luck to you.

Old 09-04-2003, 06:07 PM   #3
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,179
TiffanyAnn HB User

Hi Loony:
I am now on my fourth splint and have found the one that works for me. The first splint I had was an upper splint and it made things much worse. The second splint was an NTI which also made things worse, not to mention I nearly swallowed it twice in my sleep. The third splint was simply a night guard which didn't help me at all. It also didn't make things worse although it did protect my teeth from further wear. I am now in a lower occlusal orthotic device. This splint has worked wonders for me. Each person is different and I agree there is so much information out there and so much of it is conflicting and the same goes with dentists/orthodontists. Each one thinks that there way is the only way to go and the big problem is there are NO guidelines for treatment of TMJ so everyone does what they think will work and often have not done their homework to see what has worked for people suffering with TMJ. I had all the same fear when I got this splint and I just prayed it would work and so far it has changed my life.

Old 09-05-2003, 05:11 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: ontario, canada
Posts: 646
saaraah HB User

looney - i can identify with you 100%. even tho im seeing a neuromuscular dentist, im still extremely afraid and unsure about repositioning splints because of the conflicting info. no one has a straight answer, and it's very frustrating. i dont want to be anyone's guinea pig!

to me, tho, wearing a splint 24/7 does make sense - when you have a sprained ankle, do you walk around on it in the daytime and then rest it at night? that's kind of what i equate to the TMJ - it needs a lot of time to recuperate, and it cant be done part-time.

as of now, ive semi-decided to go thru with my dentist's plan because i've tried the other route [nightguard and NTI], and they did not work. also, people on this board have had some success with repositioning splints.. so im hoping with all of my heart that i'll be helped, too.

one of my main worries is that i do not want to be worse off or have anything irreversible done. it's been too ingrained in my head to not do irreversible things!

anyway, im trusting my new dentist, and so far ive been pretty impressed because his techniques are extremely scientific.. there's no guesswork, since multiple x-rays have been done, JVA, EMG, etc.

i wish you luck.. and if at any point you get a bad feeling about someone, stop seeing them.

take care

- saaraah.

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