I’ve been seeing a dentist for jaw pain and at my last appointment he mentioned fitting me for an Anterior Repositioning Splint. He didn’t really tell me much about it or how it will help me. Is it made out of plastic and is it very big? What will it do? — Jeremiah
Dentists often prescribe an anterior repositioning splint (ARS) to re-position or realign the condyles (in basic terms, the condyles are the hinge of the jaw). It treats disc displacement by helping place your jaw joints into a more normal position. If you experience clicks or lock jaw, the ARS will allow your lower jaw and temporomandibular joints to move into a position that reduce those symptoms.
The splint is made of acrylic and typically worn all the time for several months. It can affect speech if it’s worn on your top arch, but the good news is that if you can get through the 3-4 months, your jaw should be in the correct position and you can stop wearing it. The ARS will help your muscles and ligaments relax so you should also see a reduction in grinding or clenching. This type of appliance should only be used for the amount of time recommended by your dentist as it could cause changes to your bite if worn too long.