adult man smiling and holding a bite splintTemporomandibular joint disorders (called TMJ or TMD) can cause many different symptoms, but it’s the pain symptoms that most often bring people in seeking treatment. Jaw pain, headaches, earaches, neck pain, and more pain symptoms are common in TMJ. People often go to their doctors for help with these pains, but doctors may not understand the cause of symptoms. People may get diagnosed with many other possible conditions, then be given treatments that are ineffective and may have serious side effects. 

At Beyond Exceptional Dentistry, our Savannah TMJ dentists are experts at helping people with the condition to enjoy a healthy, pain-free bite. One of the approaches we use is a bite splint, also called an oral splint. We have seen it work wonders for patients who have had poor results from other treatments and nearly given up hope. We’re always happy to see scientific research showing the effectiveness of these treatments. We hope more people will come to understand this treatment and how it can help. 

What Is Bite Splint Therapy?

Often TMJ occurs because of an imbalance in your bite. This can be due to many potential causes. Sometimes it’s related to the way your teeth developed, causing you to chew in a certain way that stresses your jaw joint. Other times, it might be related to teeth clenching and grinding that wears down your teeth, preventing your teeth from fitting together in a healthy way. It could be related to jaw trauma that damages teeth or dislocates your jaw. 

Whatever the cause, your teeth don’t support a healthy bite, and the repeated actions of biting and chewing, plus swallowing and just holding your jaw in place, can all accentuate the imbalance, which leads to the numerous TMJ symptoms. 

Bite splint therapy is simple: it holds your jaw in a healthy, relaxed position. This helps relieve stress on the jaw muscles and joints. A bite splint can also protect your teeth from additional wear and damage. With your jaw in a healthy position, you should see TMJ symptoms improve or resolve entirely.

Effectiveness of Bite Splint Therapy

How effective is bite splint therapy at addressing TMJ symptoms? Very effective. According to a 2020 meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), bite splints had about 90% effectiveness at reducing pain due to TMJ, whether the pain was related to muscle problems or bone-and-joint difficulties. An RCT is when people are randomly assigned to get treatment or be in the control group, which might be a different treatment, or it might be a placebo. It’s considered the gold standard for evidence of the effectiveness of medical treatments. A meta-analysis is more than a simple study. It takes multiple studies and pools them together to increase the statistical power of its conclusions. 

A 2020 systematic review also concluded that every RCT showed bite splints, or occlusal splints, improved jaw motion limited by TMJ. In addition, the analysis showed that bite splints could reduce pain, improve jaw noises, and even improve TMJ-related depression and anxiety. A systematic review is similar to a meta-analysis. However, instead of pooling all the data to make one sizeable statistical pool, researchers look at all the studies separately and compare their results. 

Other Benefits of Bite Splint Therapy

In addition to reducing pain and improving the mobility of your jaw, there are several good reasons to choose bite splint therapy:

  • Nonsurgical and noninvasive treatment
  • No drug side effects
  • Long-lasting results

Bite splint therapy is nonsurgical and noninvasive. Surgical treatments for TMJ are associated with poor outcomes and numerous complications. However, bite splint therapy avoids surgery and related complications. 

Drug treatments for pain come with side effects. They might make it hard for you to work, can lead to dependence, and can cause organ problems in your kidney and/or liver, for example. 

Bite splint results can also be long-lasting. As long as you wear your splint according to the recommendations of your Savannah TMJ dentist, you can enjoy continued positive results. 

Beyond Bite Splint Therapy

Although bite splints work great, people sometimes want the same results without wearing the bite splint. In addition, they might have damaged teeth related to their years of TMJ symptoms. To address these two problems, our Savannah TMJ dentists can perform full mouth rejuvenation. In this process, we build up your teeth to create a healthy bite that will hold your jaw in the same relationship that the bite splint created. 

This not only lets you continue to enjoy the same results as with your bite splint, but it also gives you a beautifully restored smile. 

Why Choose Beyond Exceptional Dentistry

At Beyond Exceptional Dentistry, our Savannah TMJ dentists are experienced experts in treating TMJ. Both Dr. Ryan Reeves and Dr. Rod Strickland have studied neuromuscular dentistry and have spent many years applying it to help our patients. In addition, both our dentists are recognized experts in cosmetic dentistry, so if you choose full mouth reconstruction, you can trust you will get beautiful results. 

Check out our patient stories and testimonials to see how previous patients have benefited from our expertise. 

Get TMJ Relief in Savannah, GA

Do you want to be free of TMJ pain? Don’t keep suffering. Let the Savannah TMJ dentists at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry help. 

Please call (912) 234-8282 or use our online form to request an appointment at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry, located in Savannah’s Victorian District.