For patients with disorders of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), splint (night guard) therapy can often deliver much-needed relief. A properly adjusted occlusal splint does more than just protect the teeth. By covering up the areas of the top teeth that normally guide the bottom teeth and jaw into a non-ideal bite, the jaw is able to relax into a more comfortable and stable position. This in turn prevents clenching and grinding and often relieves jaw and facial tension. Not only is occlusal therapy therapeutic, it is diagnostic as well. Dr. Hite may prescribe splint therapy as a prerequisite for patients seeking orthodontic treatment who have signs of TMJ disorder. By wearing an occlusal splint as directed, a patient’s natural “true” bite may be unmasked. This serves as a more appropriate starting point for orthodontic treatment and ultimately results in a more stable result.


The temperomandibular joint both rotates and slides and is therefore the most complicated joint in the body. Splint therapy is technique-sensitive and requires the skill of a highly trained oral health professional who can accurately assess the complications and treatment indications within the temporomandibular joints and the surrounding muscles. As part of her residency training at the University of St.Louis, Dr. Hite was able to learn from world renowned TMJ specialists and found treating patients with TMJ dysfunction to be incredibly rewarding. Dr. Hite continues to provide relief to patients in the Madison County area and beyond with jaw pain, facial pain and TMJ dysfunction. For more information about TMJ splint and night guard therapy, contact our office today.

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