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What is a Dental Splint for TMJ?

Have you ever found yourself on the receiving end of jaw pain? It can make life miserable and can make even the simplest of tasks like eating or speaking, a painful and uncomfortable ordeal.

While people suffer with jaw pain for a number of different reasons, one of the most common reasons is TMJ.

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) serves a unique function in the mouth. It functions like a hinge which slides, connecting the jawbone to the skull. On either side of the skull we have one joint.

People suffering with TMJ disorders find that they experience a great deal of pain and discomfort. In this case, a dentist may suggest a dental splint.

But what is a dental splint for TMJ?

And how does it work, and if so, how long does it take to work? Read on to find out.

An overview of dental splints

Not to be confused with a mouthguard, a dental splint is a dental device designed to keep the teeth held in place. This protects them from damage caused by clenching or grinding.

Also known as an occlusal splint or tooth night guard, a dental splint is a thin acrylic guard which is fitted to the teeth found on the upper jaw.

These occlusal splints can either be firm, or soft, depending on the patient and the severity of their TMD symptoms.

What is TMJ/TMD?

TMJ, or TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) is a condition whereby a person’s TMJ may be misaligned or damaged.

TMD can lead to stiffness around the hinge of the jaw, along with a great deal of pain and discomfort, especially when eating, speaking, or using the jaw in general.

While TMJ/TMD can be caused by a number of things, the most common causes are excessive straining or overuse of the jaw. Bruxism often causes TMD as this is where people clench their teeth and grind their teeth, either in their sleep, due to stress, or simply due to habitual reasons.

Overtime, as the jaw has been under so much strain, the TMJ begins to weaken. This results in pain and discomfort which manifests itself as TMD.

As well as pain and tenderness around the jawline, patients may also hear and/or experience a clicking sound whenever they open their mouths.

They may also find themselves experiencing headaches or finding that their jaw is locking when they chew or speak.

What does a TMJ splint do?

If you are suffering with TMD, your dentist may recommend the use of a dental splint.

A splint for TMJ is available in a wide range of different styles, including non-permissive, permissive, and occlusal.

These splints are designed to help prevent the teeth from moving, which in turn helps to keep the jaw aligned and prevent wear and tear on the TMJ. They’re made to stabilise and support the TMJ and other surrounding joints and muscles.

A dental splint for TMJ helps to keep the teeth still and held in place in order to prevent misalignment of the teeth when the jaw is closed, which is known technically as malocclusion.

Do splints really work for TMJ?


One of the most common causes of TMD/TMJ is grinding of the teeth, or bruxism. Dental splints work wonders when used to treat TMD as they help to secure the teeth in place and prevent them from rubbing and grinding on one another.

How long should you wear a TMJ splint?

There is no definitive answer here because it all depends on the extent of the patient’s TMD in the first place.

Splints for TMJ may be worn for several weeks, or for several months, and even upwards of one year in more extreme cases. Obviously, the good thing about this is the majority of splints for TMJ can be removed.

How long does it take for a TMJ splint to work?

Again, it depends on the severity of the TMD, but roughly speaking, once the splint has been made, which can take a couple of weeks, most patients will see an improvement in their symptoms in around 1 – 2 months.

In extreme cases of TMJ however, jaw reconstruction surgery may be required, though in most cases, a TMJ splint does the job nicely.

TMJ splint costs in Perth, Australia

Here in Perth, Australia,  it’s safe to say that it’s a very mixed bag in terms of dental treatment costs. Some treatments are pretty expensive, whereas some are very affordable. But where do TMJ splints fall in all of this?

Well, prices for a TMJ splint here at Dental Armour start at just $379, though patients can claim as much as 100% of the cost back from their health insurer, right there and then. Neat, huh?

Book your dental splint impression

If you suffer with TMJ and are sick and tired of living your life in constant pain, book a consultation with the friendly team at Dental Armour today.

Here at Dental Armour we can provide TMJ splints, mouthguards, night guards, and heaps more besides, all for very affordable prices with payment plans to suit all budgets.