Often the first step in successful, long-term treatment of TMDs (temporomandibular
disorders), occlusal splint therapy involves designing an acrylic splint from impressions
and jaw relation records to enable the upper and lower teeth to meet in a way that
is compatible with proper jaw function. The splint fits between the upper and lower
teeth and is usually worn only at night to alleviate night-time clenching and grinding.
Occlusal splint therapy is both therapeutic and diagnostic. It relaxes the muscles
and enables the jaw to function properly, resulting in decreased discomfort. The
splint also helps determine the precise bite relationship that will facilitate proper
TMJ function, which in turn allows patients to create a healthy, natural bite by
having their teeth reshaped or repositioned.