Do you suffer from frequent headaches? Do you often have sore jaw muscles or your teeth hurt when you chew? More people suffer from Temporo-mandibular disorders (TMD) than they realize. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting the jawbone to the skull. TMJ disorders can cause pain in the jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.
The exact cause of a patient’s TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. The pain may be due to a combination of problems, such as arthritis or jaw injury. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth, however many people habitually clench their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders.
In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders can be alleviated with self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments.
A Prosthodontist is a dental specialist, trained to diagnose the cause of jaw pain as well as provide a course of treatment to help alleviate the discomfort. Depending on the patient’s history and symptoms, a Prosthodontist may recommend a stabilization splint, commonly known as an occlusal guard to treat the pain.
The custom-made plastic stabilizing device fits over the upper or lower teeth and is used to control the interaction between the upper and lower jaw by maintaining the joint in a healthy position. A stabilization splint is the most common, non-intrusive treatment for TMJ disorders, including facial pain.
Temporomandibular joint pain is considered a medical condition. The good news is that sometimes TMJ appliances are covered by a patient’s medical insurance coverage under the diagnosis description, Durable Medical Equipment (DME). Patients are recommended to call their medical insurance providers and ask if they have coverage in their individual medical plan.
Temporomandibular (TMJ/TMD) FAQ’s
Will the occlusal guard cure my temporomandibular disorder, (TMD)?
In many cases the cause of the TMD is unknown or a cure does not exist however the symptoms can often be managed. Please call us for a consultation at (310) 502-0530 so that we may begin the process to start helping you feel better.
How does the Prosthodontist make the occlusal guard so that it fits properly in my mouth?
After the initial work up and after it has been determined that you will benefit from the occlusal guard the first step is making an impression of your mouth. Once the impressions are made they are sent to our in-house dental lab where stone casts of your mouth are fabricated. They are then digitized and your occlusal guard is designed through a Computer Aided Design (CAD) process. After the design has been perfected and checked by Dr.’s Daftary or Mahallati then the occlusal guard or splint is fabricated through a Computer Aided Machining (CAM) process. The final design is then rechecked on the original dental casts to verify accurate fit. At the time of delivery of the splint final touch up adjustments, if any are made to ensure perfect fit and comfort. Use of digital technology enables us to deliver results that are more accurate and precise.
What is the material used to make an occlusal guard?
Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) is the short answer. PMMA is the same material used in the fabrication of retainers, dentures as well as many other dental prostheses. Because we use a CAD/CAM process, the material blanks are cured through an industrial process rather than curing in the lab. This ensures mush higher rate of cure of the material resulting in much longer lasting splint.
When should I wear my occlusal guard?
Most people wear their splints at night in their sleep, however there are many who also wear it during the day because of the relief it provides for their symptoms.
What happens to the fit of the occlusal guard if I have dental work?
In most cases they can be modified and readjusted. In some cases depending on the extent of the work it needs to be remade.