Dr. Hornstein has had great success in helping people find relief from headaches and pain of the jaw and neck through orthotic therapy, often combined with neuromuscular massage. After a thorough evaluation using the K-7 system to determine the most relaxed position for the jaw, we will take impressions so that a dental lab can produce an orthotic, a plastic oral appliance, which allows the jaw to maintain this position. Keeping the jaw relaxed also provides relief for the other muscles of the head, neck, and shoulders.
In the beginning, a person wears the orthotic throughout the day and at night. Then, in about three to six months, most patients can wear the orthotic only at night or at times of stress. If you properly care for the orthotic, this appliance can last for many years. The majority of our patients who utilize this therapy have seen the quality of their lives improve dramatically, allowing them to discard their pain relief medication.
Orthotic devices helps hold your jaw in correct alignment. Oftentimes, TMJ dysfunction causes the muscles to work over time because of misalignments, and this in turn causes headache and neck pain. Oral orthotics better position the jaw when malocclusions are believed to be causing your TMJ pain and headaches. Rather than allowing the position of your teeth to determine the position of your jaw, an orthotic allows your jaw to find its natural, comfortable, and functional position for proper alignment and alleviation of stress on the jaw muscles.
Over time, the orthotic will retrain your jaw to sit in the correct position. The device will be custom made for you so that it fits perfectly, and because it’s designed to cover only your back teeth, you don’t have to worry about people noticing it when you’re wearing it during the day. Over time, the fit of your orthotic may need to be checked and adjusted. Treatment time is about three months to a year, but sometimes it takes a little longer. It’s worth it, however, to have freedom from chronic headaches or other pain associated with TMJ dysfunction. Eventually, however, your jaw will be functioning better than ever and more comfortably with an orthotic device from The Center for Advanced Dentistry in Beachwood, Ohio.
To Remove: With your fingertips or fingernails, pull up on the back outside edges of the orthotic.
To Replace In Your Mouth: Place the orthotic over your teeth in the correct alignment and push into place with your thumbs or forefingers.
To Clean: Remove the orthotic when you brush and floss your teeth and brush it with your toothpaste. Be sure to support the orthotic evenly while brushing. For removal of odor and stains, soak the orthotic in any of the following solutions, and then brush again with your toothpaste.
Note: Heat will cause your orthotic to warp. Therefore, do not use hot water when cleaning the orthotic. If the water is too hot for your fingers, it is too hot for your orthotic. Do not leave your orthotic in a hot car or next to a heater, etc. However, as long as your orthotic is in position in your mouth, hot food or drink will not damage it.
When you are not wearing the orthotic, rinse it and place it in the case we have given you. Keep the orthotic wet as this will keep it from changing shape. If unable to moisten the orthotic during the day, simple take a cotton ball and wet with water or mouthwash (not a red colored mouthwash) and squeeze it out. Then place the orthotic and cotton ball in your container. This will keep your orthotic moist for the day.
Be sure to wear your orthotic except to eat and brush your teeth. Remove the orthotic 10-15 minutes before meals to make chewing easier. (You must keep the orthotic out for at least 2 hours per day. If you do not remove it to eat, then you must choose another time to not wear it.) It is especially important that you wear it when you are concentrating on something like driving, paperwork, sports, exercising, sleep or any physical activity, etc. These times are when you are most likely to subconsciously grind your teeth. At all times try to condition yourself to keep your teeth slightly apart, even when wearing the orthotic. Your teeth should touch only when you swallow or eat. Separating the teeth will help your muscles to relax or reduce the stress on the jaw joints.
You may find that you have more saliva in your mouth. This is your mouth getting used to having something in it all the time. In time, this should return to normal.
You probably will have sore teeth, a sore tongue or some muscle pain after you wear your orthotic. This is only the muscles and your teeth becoming accustomed to the splint. These symptoms should subside in a few days. If in five or six days they do not subside, please call us (216-595-1710). (If you develop sores in your mouth, use Zilactin to make an “oral bandage.” This can be purchased over-the-counter at most pharmacies.)
The best way to lean to speak with your orthotic is to start right away enunciating more dramatically and reading or singing out loud to practice. It may take a few days to become accustomed to speaking with it. Remember, you sound worse to yourself than you do to others.
You should brush after each meal. Because the orthotic covers your teeth and gums, your tongue is unable to remove any food particles and you do not want to develop cavities or gum problems. When you brush your teeth, also take the time to brush your orthotic. Use the fluoride gel provided in the morning and evening by placing 1-2 drops on the inside areas of the orthotic.
Be careful with your orthotic. Keep it away from dogs and small children. Dogs love to chew on orthotic and young children have been known to flush them down the toilet. Try not to drop your orthotic as it may break. Never wrap the orthotic in a paper napkin or tissue and lay it on the table. Someone might throw it away. Don’t put it in your pocket because you might break or lose it. Avoid flipping your splint with your tongue as that can damage it.
During dental work, do not open wide for long periods of time. Use moist heat on the sides of your face before and after your dental visits. This will help with any discomfort in the muscle and joints that might occur because of dental work.
If you have any problems or additional questions after you leave our office, please feel free to call us. We want this to be as pleasant experience for you as possible and are here to assist you in adjusting to this therapy.
The Center for Advanced Dentistry…Where Holistic Health and Aesthetic Dentistry Come Together.
Call our Beachwood dental office to make an appointment with Dr. Hornstein. We serve residents from Cleveland, Solon, Shaker Heights, Pepper Pike, and the surrounding areas.