A Guide to TMJ Splint

Discover the effective treatments for TMJ disorders with a detailed guide on TMJ splints

Jessica Joyce

7/7/202317 min read

What is TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint)

The temporomandibular joint, often referred to as TMJ, is a vital hinge joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. This joint plays a crucial role in the movement of your jaw, enabling you to speak, chew, and yawn with ease.

Think of it as a bridge between two important entities – your lower jaw and the temporal bone of your skull. Without TMJ, these tasks would become quite troublesome.

TMJ disorders are conditions that affect the proper functioning of this joint. They can stem from various factors such as injury, misalignment of teeth or jaws, stress-induced clenching or grinding of teeth (also known as bruxism), arthritis, or even simply genetics.

The resulting discomfort can range from mild to severe and may include symptoms like jaw pain or tenderness, difficulty opening or closing the mouth fully, clicking or popping sounds when chewing or speaking, headaches, earaches, and even facial pain. To better understand how TMJ disorders develop and why they cause such discomfort, it's essential to comprehend the complex mechanics at work within this joint.

The temporomandibular joint consists of three main components: the condyle (a rounded projection on top of the jawbone), the disc (a small piece of cartilage that cushions movement), and a socket in the temporal bone called the glenoid fossa. These elements work harmoniously to allow for smooth movements like sliding and rotating when you open your mouth wide or move it from side to side.

In addition to these intricate anatomical details, it's worth noting that there are two TMJs in our bodies—one on each side—working synchronously to facilitate our daily activities involving the mouth. This duplication is what allows us to chew our food evenly on both sides while enjoying a balanced bite.

However, when something goes awry with these joints due to factors mentioned earlier—such as injury or misalignment—the resulting TMJ disorder can lead to pain and discomfort that hinder our ability to enjoy even the simplest of pleasures, like savoring a meal or engaging in lively conversation. Understanding what TMJ is and how it functions is crucial for recognizing and addressing any potential disorders or complications.

Armed with this knowledge, you can better explore treatment options, including the use of mouth guards during sleep or specialized TMJ splints that aid in alleviating symptoms and bringing relief. So, let's delve deeper into the fascinating world of TMJ disorders and how they can be effectively managed.

What is a TMJ Condition

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge-like joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. It plays a crucial role in allowing you to open and close your mouth, chew, speak, and even yawn.

When this joint becomes dysfunctional or experiences any issues, it leads to a condition known as TMJ disorder or TMD. TMD can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms that can significantly impact your daily life.

Some of the most common symptoms include jaw pain or tenderness, difficulty in opening or closing your mouth fully, clicking or popping sounds when you move your jaw, headaches, earaches, and even neck pain. These symptoms may occur intermittently or persistently depending on the severity of the condition.

There are various factors that can contribute to the development of TMD. One common cause is excessive pressure put on the TMJ due to habits like teeth grinding or clenching.

Stress and anxiety are also known culprits behind TMD as they often lead individuals to hold tension in their jaw muscles without realizing it. Other potential causes include arthritis in the joint, an injury to the jaw area, misalignment of the bite (occlusion), or even hormonal imbalances.

It's important to note that while TMD can be uncomfortable and distressing, it is not permanent for most individuals. With proper diagnosis and treatment methods tailored specifically for each patient's needs, it is possible to manage and alleviate TMJ disorder effectively.

In subsequent sections of this guide, we will explore various treatment options available such as tmj splint therapy along with its benefits and efficacy in combating TMD symptoms. Remember that if you suspect you may have a TMJ disorder based on these symptoms or a professional diagnosis from a dentist specializing in tmj disorders is necessary for an accurate assessment before proceeding with any treatment options like tmj mouth guards or splints.

Common Symptoms of TMJ

When it comes to TMJ disorders, there's a whole slew of symptoms that can rear their ugly heads.

If you're experiencing any of these, it might be a good idea to have a chat with your dentist or doctor. One common symptom is jaw pain, which can range from a dull ache to an intense throbbing sensation.

It often feels like someone has taken a vice grip to your jaw and refuses to let go. Ouch!

But that's not all folks! Oh no, TMJ disorders don't just stop at jaw pain.

You might also notice clicking or popping sounds when you open and close your mouth. It's like having a tiny percussion band in your head every time you eat or talk!

And speaking of eating, if you're having difficulty chewing or even just opening your mouth wide, that could be another sign of TMJ trouble. Now let's move on to the subject of headaches and migraines.

Unfortunately, TMJ disorders can be quite the headache - literally! Many folks with TMJ issues experience frequent headaches that seem to come out of nowhere.

These headaches can range from mild discomfort to mind-numbing pain that makes you want to retreat into hibernation until they subside. In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, some people may also experience earaches or ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

It's like having an annoying neighbor playing loud music in your ears 24/7! And we haven't even touched on neck pain and facial tenderness yet.

Suffice it to say, if you're dealing with any combination of these symptoms on a regular basis, it might be wise to consider seeking some professional help. So there you have it - some common symptoms associated with TMJ disorders.

Remember though, everyone is different and may experience varying degrees of discomfort or none at all for that matter. If you suspect something fishy is going on with your jaw joint, it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional who can point you in the right direction and help you find some relief.

Causes of TMD Joint Disorder

TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, can be quite a pain in the jaw (pun definitely intended).

It's important to understand what leads to this gnarly condition in order to tackle it head-on. So, let's dive into the three major causes of TMD joint disorder.

1. Jaw Clenching and Teeth Grinding: Have you ever woken up with a sore jaw or noticed yourself clenching your teeth during stressful situations? Well, my friend, this could be one of the culprits behind your TMD joint disorder.

Jaw clenching and teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, put excessive pressure on your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), leading to inflammation and discomfort. It can occur during the day due to stress or even at night while you peacefully dream away.

2. Misalignment of the Jaw and Teeth: Our jaws are designed to work in perfect harmony, like a well-choreographed dance routine. However, sometimes things go awry and misalignments occur.

This misalignment can be due to various factors such as dental problems (like an improper bite), trauma from accidents or injuries, or even genetic predisposition. When your jaw is not aligned properly with your teeth, it can cause strain on the TMJ and result in TMD joint disorder.

3. Arthritis and Joint Degeneration: Just like our favorite pair of jeans wearing out over time from constant use (hey there worn-in denim lovers!), our joints can also experience wear and tear over years of movement. Arthritis is a common condition that impacts joints throughout the body, including the TMJ.

As we age or due to certain medical conditions, our joints may undergo degeneration which leads to inflammation, stiffness, pain while chewing food - all symptoms associated with TMD joint disorder. Understanding these causes is crucial for effective management of TMD joint disorder.

Whether you find yourself grinding your teeth like a champ, dealing with a misaligned jaw, or even experiencing age-related joint issues, knowing the root cause can guide you towards appropriate treatment options such as mouth guard sleep devices or tmj mouth guards. Remember, knowing is half the battle when it comes to how to cure tmj permanently!

Most Effective Treatment Types for Your TMD Joint Disorder

When it comes to finding the most effective treatment for your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder, it's essential to consider various options that can help alleviate your symptoms and promote healing. TMJ disorders can cause discomfort and pain in the jaw, face, and neck, making it crucial to seek proper treatment.

Thankfully, there are several treatment types available that can provide relief. One of the most common and effective treatments for TMJ disorders is using a mouth guard.

These mouth guards, also known as splints or oral appliances, are custom-made devices that fit over your teeth to help stabilize the jaw joint and reduce grinding or clenching habits. They are typically worn during sleep or throughout the day if recommended by your dentist or healthcare professional.

Another effective treatment option is physical therapy. Physical therapy for TMJ disorders involves performing exercises and stretches specifically designed to strengthen the muscles around the jaw joint.

These exercises aim to improve jaw mobility, reduce muscle tension, and relieve pain. A physical therapist specializing in TMJ disorders will guide you through targeted exercises tailored to your specific condition.

In certain cases of severe TMJ disorders where conservative treatments fail to provide relief, more advanced interventions might be necessary. Invasive procedures such as corticosteroid injections or surgery may be considered as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

However, these interventions are typically reserved for extreme cases where there is significant damage or structural issues affecting the temporomandibular joint. Remember that each individual's experience with TMJ disorders may vary, so what works effectively for one person may not work as well for another.

It's important to consult with a healthcare professional who specializes in treating TMJ disorders to determine which treatment option is best suited for you based on your specific symptoms and condition. When seeking effective treatment for your TMJ disorder, consider options such as mouth guards/splints, physical therapy exercises, and in extreme cases, more invasive interventions.

It's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional specializing in TMJ disorders to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your specific needs. With the right approach, you can find relief from TMJ-related discomfort and improve your overall quality of life.

Overview of Splint Therapy

Splint therapy is a widely used treatment option for TMJ disorders. It involves the use of a specially designed device called a TMJ splint or mouth guard to alleviate the symptoms and provide relief. This non-invasive approach aims to stabilize the jaw joint, promote proper alignment, and reduce muscle tension in the surrounding areas.

A TMJ splint typically consists of an acrylic material that is custom-made to fit your mouth. It resembles a sports mouthguard but is specifically designed to address the unique needs of individuals with TMJ issues.

The main purpose of the splint is to create a barrier between your upper and lower teeth, preventing them from clenching or grinding against each other, which can worsen TMJ symptoms. The splint works by gently repositioning your jaw into a more comfortable and natural resting position.

By doing so, it helps relieve pressure on the joint, reduces muscle strain, and helps prevent further damage caused by excessive clenching or grinding habits. Furthermore, wearing a splint provides cushioning and support to the jaw joint during activities like chewing or speaking, allowing for smoother movement and minimizing pain.

It's worth noting that there are different types of TMJ splints available, each serving different purposes based on individual needs. Some splints are designed for daytime use while others are intended to be worn during sleep (known as nocturnal or sleep splints).

Your dentist or healthcare professional will determine which type of splint is most suitable for you based on factors such as the severity of your condition, specific symptoms experienced, and personal preferences. Overall, although TMJ disorders can be complex and challenging to manage effectively in some cases, splint therapy offers considerable benefits.

By utilizing these custom-made devices tailored to your mouth's unique specifications, you can experience relief from discomfort associated with TMJ disorders while simultaneously protecting your oral structures from further harm caused by clenching or grinding habits. If you're struggling with TMJ issues, consulting a dental professional experienced in splint therapy can provide you with the guidance and treatment options necessary for effective management.

What is TMJ Splint Therapy

TMJ splint therapy, also known as a TMJ mouth guard, is a non-invasive treatment option for individuals suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. This therapy involves the use of a specially designed dental appliance that fits over the teeth and helps alleviate symptoms associated with TMJ conditions.

The main purpose of a TMJ splint is to provide support and reduce the strain on the jaw joint. A TMJ splint is typically made from acrylic material and is custom-fitted by a dentist or orthodontist.

The splint covers either the upper or lower teeth, depending on the specific needs of the patient. It works by repositioning the jaw in order to achieve proper alignment and minimize stress on the joints.

By doing so, it helps to alleviate pain, reduce muscle tension, and improve overall jaw function. One type of TMJ splint commonly used in therapy is called an occlusal splint.

This type of splint is designed to prevent teeth grinding or clenching, which can exacerbate TMJ symptoms. It acts as a cushion between the upper and lower teeth, preventing them from coming into direct contact during sleep.

This not only protects your teeth from wear and tear but also helps relax your jaw muscles. Another type of TMJ splint that may be used is a flat-plane splint.

This variant provides support by keeping your jaws slightly apart while you wear it. It allows for more freedom in jaw movement and reduces pressure on the joint.

Overall, TMJ splint therapy offers numerous benefits for individuals suffering from TMJ disorders. It aims to provide relief from pain and discomfort associated with this condition, improve jaw function, prevent further damage to teeth caused by grinding or clenching, and promote relaxation of jaw muscles during sleep.

While using a mouth guard for sleep may help alleviate some symptoms temporarily, it's important to consult with your dentist or orthodontist to determine the best treatment plan for your specific TMJ condition. Keep in mind that splint therapy is just one aspect of managing TMJ disorders, and a comprehensive approach may be necessary for long-term relief.

Do TMJ Splints Work

One of the burning questions that often arises when it comes to TMJ splints is, "Do they really work?" It's understandable to be skeptical, especially if you've tried other remedies in the past without success. But fear not, for I am here to shed some light on the matter. First and foremost, it's important to understand what TMJ splints are designed to do.

These custom-made mouth guards aim to alleviate the symptoms associated with TMJ disorders. They work by repositioning your jaw and providing a cushioning effect between your upper and lower teeth.

This helps reduce the strain on your jaw joint and muscles, ultimately offering relief from pain and discomfort. Now, let's address the big question: do TMJ splints actually work?

The answer is a resounding yes! Countless patients have experienced significant improvements in their TMJ symptoms after using splints.

Studies have shown that these oral devices can effectively reduce pain, headaches, jaw clicking or popping sounds, as well as improve jaw mobility. Additionally, many individuals report better sleep quality due to decreased teeth grinding or clenching during sleep – an added bonus!

It's important to note that while TMJ splints can provide temporary relief from symptoms, they are not a cure for TMJ disorders. However, they are an excellent treatment option for managing symptoms and improving overall quality of life.

So if you've been struggling with persistent jaw pain or related issues like headaches or difficulty eating, consider giving a TMJ splint a try – you might just find the relief you've been searching for.

While they may not permanently cure your condition, these oral devices can provide significant relief from pain and discomfort caused by misaligned jaws or excessive teeth grinding/clenching. Whether you're seeking better sleep, reduced headaches, or improved jaw mobility, a TMJ splint could be the solution you've been waiting for.

How Long Should You Keep Your TMJ Splint On

The duration for which you should wear your TMJ splint depends on various factors, including the severity of your condition and the recommendations of your dentist or healthcare professional. Generally, it is advised to wear the splint throughout the night while sleeping.

This extended period allows your jaw muscles and joints to relax and heal. By wearing the TMJ splint during sleep, you can prevent teeth grinding or clenching that often worsens TMJ disorders.

The splint acts as a protective barrier between your upper and lower teeth, reducing the pressure on the jaw joint. Moreover, it helps in maintaining proper alignment of your jaws while you sleep.

While most people primarily use TMJ splints during nighttime, some individuals may also benefit from wearing them during daytime if they experience persistent symptoms or jaw discomfort throughout the day. However, it is crucial to consult with your dentist or healthcare professional regarding how long and when to wear a splint based on your specific needs.

It's important to note that using a TMJ splint alone may not be enough to permanently cure TMJ disorders. Splints provide temporary relief by alleviating symptoms and allowing time for healing.

For a more comprehensive treatment approach that aims at addressing underlying causes, you should consult with a dental professional experienced in treating TMJ disorders who can guide you on specialized exercises, lifestyle modifications, pain management techniques, and other therapies that can help resolve the condition in the long term. In addition to providing relief from pain and discomfort associated with TMD joint disorder, wearing a properly fitted TMJ splint can also help protect your teeth from excessive wear caused by teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism).

Furthermore, it promotes muscle relaxation and reduces muscle tension in the jaw area. Remember that everyone's situation is unique and what works for one person may not work for another; therefore consulting with an experienced dental professional remains essential in managing TMD effectively.

While wearing a TMJ splint during sleep is generally recommended, the specific duration may vary depending on individual circumstances and recommendations from your dental professional. It's important to follow their guidance to ensure optimal results.

Additionally, keep in mind that using a splint is just one aspect of managing TMD. Adopting a comprehensive approach that addresses underlying causes and includes appropriate exercises, lifestyle modifications, and therapies may yield more long-term benefits in treating TMJ disorders effectively.

Benefits of a TMJ Splint

A tmj splint, also known as a tmj mouth guard, offers several benefits for those suffering from tmj disorders. These custom-made oral devices work by repositioning the jaw and reducing the strain on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

One of the primary advantages of using a tmj splint is pain relief. People with tmj disorders often experience chronic pain in their jaw, face, neck, and even headaches.

The splint helps to distribute the pressure more evenly, alleviating discomfort and providing much-needed respite. Moreover, a tmj splint can help improve sleep quality.

Many individuals with TMJ issues find it difficult to sleep due to constant jaw clenching or grinding during the night. This can lead to disturbed sleep patterns and fatigue during the day.

By wearing a well-fitted mouth guard sleep becomes more restful as it acts as a cushion between your upper and lower teeth, preventing any grinding or clenching that may occur unconsciously. Another benefit of using a tmj splint is its ability to protect your teeth from further damage.

Constant grinding or clenching can wear down tooth enamel over time or even cause fractures in extreme cases. By wearing a protective mouth guard like a tmj splint, you create a barrier between your teeth, reducing the risk of dental complications while simultaneously relieving stress on your TMJ joint.

While it's important to note that using a tmj splint provides temporary relief rather than permanently curing TMJ issues, these oral devices offer significant benefits for individuals seeking immediate relief from their symptoms. However, it's crucial to consult with your dentist or healthcare professional before deciding on any treatment option for your specific condition; they will evaluate whether this treatment is suitable for you based on their expertise and diagnostic assessments.

Is TMJ Curable

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, can cause a great deal of discomfort and pain for those who suffer from it. Many people wonder if TMJ is curable or if they will have to live with the symptoms indefinitely.

The good news is that in most cases, TMJ can be managed effectively with proper treatment and lifestyle adjustments. While there may not be a permanent "cure" for TMJ, there are various methods to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.

To understand why TMJ may not have a definitive cure, we first need to delve into what exactly TMJ is. The temporomandibular joint connects your jawbone to your skull, allowing you to open and close your mouth smoothly.

When this joint becomes misaligned or damaged due to factors such as teeth grinding, jaw clenching, arthritis, or trauma, it can result in TMJ disorder. This condition manifests in numerous ways like jaw pain, clicking sounds when opening the mouth, headaches, earaches, and difficulty chewing.

To manage the symptoms of TMJ disorder effectively and potentially achieve long-term relief from pain and discomfort, it is crucial to adopt a multi-faceted approach. One common treatment option is the use of mouth guards specifically designed for addressing TMJ issues.

These specialized mouth guards help alleviate pressure on the jaw joint by providing a cushioning effect during sleep or times of increased clenching or grinding activity. While using mouth guards for sleep may provide temporary relief by reducing stress on the jaw joint overnight or during periods of unconscious grinding/clenching habits, it is important to note that they do not address the underlying causes of TMJ disorders.

In some cases where misalignment plays a significant role in causing symptoms, orthodontic treatments such as braces or other methods might be necessary. Additionally, lifestyle adjustments can play an essential role in managing this condition effectively.

Stress reduction techniques like meditation or physical therapy exercises that stretch and strengthen the jaw muscles can provide relief and prevent aggravating the TMJ disorder. It is essential to work closely with a dental or medical professional who specializes in TMJ disorders to determine the best course of action tailored to your specific needs.

While there may not be a definitive cure for TMJ disorder, it is certainly possible to manage its symptoms effectively and improve one's quality of life. The use of mouth guards, along with other treatment options like orthodontic interventions and stress reduction techniques, can significantly alleviate pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders.

By addressing the underlying causes and implementing lifestyle adjustments, long-term relief from TMJ symptoms can be achieved. Consulting with a healthcare professional specializing in TMJ disorders is crucial for developing an individualized treatment plan that suits your unique needs.

How Much Does TMJ Splint Cost

When it comes to considering the cost of a TMJ splint, it's important to understand that the price can vary depending on several factors. The first factor to consider is whether you choose an over-the-counter (OTC) TMJ splint or a custom-made one.

OTC splints are generally more affordable, ranging from $20 to $50. These can be found in most drugstores or online.

However, they may not fit as well as custom-made splints and might not provide optimal relief for your specific condition. On the other hand, custom-made TMJ splints are typically recommended by dentists or specialists and can provide a more accurate fit and better long-term results.

The cost of a custom splint varies greatly depending on various factors such as the complexity of your case, location, and the dentist's expertise. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $400 to $1,200 for a custom-made TMJ splint.

It's important to note that some insurance plans may cover part or all of the cost of your TMJ splint therapy if it is deemed necessary for medical reasons. However, coverage may vary depending on your insurance provider and policy terms.

It's advisable to check with your insurance company beforehand to determine what portion of the cost they will cover. While investing in a quality TMJ splint might require some financial consideration upfront, it is essential to prioritize your oral health and overall well-being.

Remember that finding relief from TMJ disorders could significantly enhance your quality of life by alleviating pain during sleep or when engaging in daily activities like eating and talking. When weighing the cost of a TMJ splint against potential benefits, it's crucial to consider both short-term relief and long-term outcomes.

While OTC options are more budget-friendly initially, they may not provide optimal results compared to custom-made options prescribed by dental professionals. Be sure to consult with your dentist or healthcare provider to determine the best course of action based on your specific needs and budget.


Dealing with TMJ disorders can be a challenging experience, but there are effective treatment options available to help alleviate the symptoms. Through understanding what TMJ is and its common causes, we can better manage the condition and seek appropriate treatment.

While there is no permanent cure for TMJ, there are ways to manage and reduce the discomfort associated with it. One of the most effective treatment options for TMJ disorders is splint therapy.

The use of a TMJ splint helps to realign the jaw, relieve pressure on the joint, and reduce muscle tension. By wearing a custom-fit splint prescribed by a dentist or orthodontist, you can experience significant improvement in your symptoms over time.

When using a TMJ splint, it's important to follow your healthcare professional's guidance on how long you should keep it on each day. Typically, it is recommended to wear the splint during sleep or as directed by your dentist.

The duration of treatment varies depending on the severity of your condition but utilizing a well-fitted mouth guard sleep during this period can aid in promoting comfort while you rest. One of the great benefits of using a TMJ splint is that it not only helps alleviate pain and discomfort but also promotes healing by allowing the jaw joint to rest and heal properly.

Additionally, wearing a splint can help protect your teeth from grinding or clenching at night, which often exacerbates TMJ symptoms. Although costs may vary depending on various factors such as location and provider expertise, investing in an adequately fitting TMJ mouth guard is worth considering for long-term relief.

While living with TMJ disorders may seem overwhelming at times, remember that there are solutions available to help you manage its symptoms effectively. With proper care and attention to detail such as using appropriate dental appliances like mouth guards during sleep or engaging in therapies like splint therapy under professional guidance, you can find relief from discomfort associated with this condition.