In the case of splint therapy for TMJ disorder, the term “splint” refers to a mouth guard, bite plate or other type of oral apparatus prescribed by a dentist. These splints can be either hard or soft and can cover a few of the teeth or all of the teeth. Just how does splint therapy help resolve TMJ pain and discomfort? It does so in a few ways: When worn, splints allow jaw muscles and ligaments to relax, therefore preventing the occurrence of teeth grinding, clenching or other jaw reactions that may trigger TMJ pain and discomfort. Aside from teeth grinding, or bruxism, it’s hypothesized that TMJ disorder can also stem from either an underbite or an overbite. This is thought to put added pressure on the jaw. However, administration of a splint can help angle the bite into a more optimal position, which can help alleviate tension in the jaw. Another benefit to splint therapy, especially in the case of people who grind their teeth, is that splints can essentially prevent teeth from becoming worn down and help offset the other negative side effects of bruxism.