Occlusal splint therapy is a method of determining whether the relationship of your upper teeth to your lower teeth is instrumental in creating tooth, muscle and joint problems. By allowing us to temporarily and reversibly "perfect" your bite, it is both diagnostic and therapeutic in the following ways:
In patients that are experiencing muscle or joint pain, splint therapy is a process that usually takes several months to complete. An occlusal splint is a retainer-like device (see photo below) fitted to either the lower or upper teeth with the purpose of allowing the jaw joints to seat in their most physiologic position without interference from the teeth. After the splint is delivered, you will be seen at regular intervals (first every other week, then monthly) to assess any changes in your symptoms, your ability to function and to make necessary adjustments to your appliance, medications and/or adjunctive therapies.
Assuming that symptoms subside and the joints are stable, splint therapy usually ends by obtaining study models to assess the true relationship of the teeth to the jaw joints, and what, if any, changes are necessary to correct your bite by moving, reshaping (see equilibration), or restoring your teeth.