There are many approaches for treating TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorders, also called TMD), but a new comprehensive review shows that one treatment offers significant benefits over all others. Occlusal splints help hold your jaw in the proper position so your muscles can relax. This gives faster results than other treatment approaches, according to the review.
Not everyone gets the same results from TMJ treatment, but this research gives a good reason to choose a TMJ dentist first for treating TMJ.
Gold Standard Data
One of the exciting things about this study is that it only looked at the highest standard of medical evidence: randomized clinical trials (RCTs). RCTs are considered the best type of evidence to use when determining the effectiveness of medical treatments. They are required for all new drugs and medical technologies seeking premarket approval because they can gauge both effectiveness and safety of medical interventions.
For the new review, researchers looked at all available RCTs of occlusal splints. The RCTs compared oral splints with placebo, no treatment, and other treatment alternatives. They performed a meta-analysis to bring the data together into a single pool.
Complex Symptoms Indicate TMJ
In addition to requiring the best clinical data for their studies, reviewers also required that studies use complex symptoms to diagnose TMJ. TMJ is characterized by its tendency to cause far-reaching symptoms–not just jaw pain–to reviewers required that studies used at least two symptoms to diagnose the condition, including:
- Spontaneous pain in the jaw or face
- Touch sensitivity in the jaw or face
- Tender muscles
- Limited or irregular jaw motion
- Limited mouth opening
- Clicking, popping, grinding or other jaw sounds
- Earache or headache
Using their strict standards, researchers identified 33 RCTs that fit the criteria. The studies included 1779 patients, 848 who received occlusal splints and 931 in control groups.
As mentioned above, the RCTs compared occlusal splints to many different options, including:
- No treatment
- Minimal treatment
- Nonoccluding splint
- Physical therapy
- Behavioral therapy
Data from these studies was divided into short-term (3 months or less) and long-term (6 months or more) results. For short-term results, occlusal splints were significantly better than the alternatives. They reduced muscle pain and tenderness and improved jaw opening better than other treatment options.
But by the time of long-term results, other treatments had caught up, offering comparable improvement over placebo or no treatment.
Are You Looking for Fast Relief for TMJ?
There are many possible treatments for your TMJ. But if you are looking for fast results from jaw pain, headaches, and other symptoms, occlusal splints may be the fastest. We understand that TMJ can be a significant impediment to living your life. It can degrade your quality of life and make it hard to perform everyday tasks.
That’s why we offer occlusal splints that can deliver fast relief to your symptoms. To learn more about the benefits of splint therapy for TMJ in Tulsa, please call (918) 528-3330 today for an appointment with a TMJ dentist at Winters Dental Excellence.