Pain in your Jaw joint or facial muscles is debilitating and can affect your quality of life. Symptoms such as tender facial muscles, restricted opening, ear pain, frequent headaches and jaw clicking may be a sign of Temporomandibular Dysfunction Syndrome. More extreme cases involving painful, locking episodes that may affect your ability to eat, speak and smile.
There are many possible causes for this pain, including:
- Wear and tear on the joint
- Grinding or clenching of your teeth (also known as bruxism)
- Misalignment of your upper and lower jaws
Treating Jaw-joint Pain
Dental treatment can make a real difference in alleviating the pain and helping the jaw to relax. At Macquarie Street Centre, we aim to reduce the frequency and duration of painful episodes and improve the quality of your life. This may be achieved through self-care regimes, medication, the use of CAD-CAM occlusal night-guards, and in some cases rehabilitation of the dentition.
Our dentist Sydney CBD Dr Dunn is up-to-date on contemporary clinical research in this field.
Occlusal splints, also called “bite splints” or “night guards”, are types of removable dental appliances that are worn to protect the teeth and restorations. Custom-fitted to the upper or lower teeth, these dental appliances also can be used to manage problems caused by the jaw joint and associated musculature, as well as tooth-grinding. People who suffer from night-time teeth clenching or grinding should wear night guards to help lessen wear and tear on the teeth and reduce the possibility of tooth fractures. Occlusal splints cover the biting surface of the upper teeth, and provide a separation of approximately 4mm between the upper and lower teeth.
Occlusal splints are typically made of a heat-cured acrylic resin. Soft acrylic or light cured composite, or vinyl splints may be made more quickly and cheaply, but are not as durable, and are more commonly made for short-term use. At the Macquarie Street Centre, we provide our patients with custom-made CAD/CAM occlusal splints. This type of occlusal splint is made from a three-dimensional digital scan of a stone model of your upper and lower teeth. From this information, an occlusal splint is milled from a solid, high-impact block of acrylic resin. This produces a stronger, slimmer, precisely fitting, more comfortable occlusal splint than traditional manufacturing methods.
An occlusal splint can serve many functions - they are used to protect tooth and restoration surfaces, manage mandibular (jaw) dysfunction, and stabilize occlusion or create space prior to restoration procedures. People prone to nocturnal bruxism, or nighttime clenching, should routinely wear occlusal splints at night.