Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Temporomandibular Disorders: Dental Splints
Dental splints are the most common dental treatment for temporomandibular disorders (TMDs). These splints are used for short periods of time. They do not cause permanent changes in the teeth or jaw.
Dental splints, also called occlusal splints, include bite plates and mouth guards. They are custom-made by a dentist. They are typically made of clear plastic. They fit between and over the upper and lower teeth.
Dental splints can help ease muscle tension and stabilize the jaw. They do this by preventing grinding and clenching of the jaw (bruxism) that might be causing muscle tension and pain.
Splints are worn mostly at night, because people tend to clench or grind their teeth during sleep. It may not be easy to get used to wearing and caring for your splint, but it is an important treatment that may last for 3 months or more.
In cases of disc displacement and muscle spasm, you may be advised to wear a splint during the day and at night for about 2 weeks, and then only at night during times of stress and pain. This may allow a displaced disc to return to its normal position.
Many people who have TMDs find splint therapy helpful for treating pain and muscle tension.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Current as of: October 3, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Current as of:
October 3, 2018
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.