What is an Orthotic, and How Long Do I Have to Wear It?
While being treated for TMJ, you will be measured for a custom orthotic. This neuromuscular orthotic works to move your jaw back to its correct position, through functional movement/measure of your muscles.
If you are being treated at TMJ and Sleep Center, you will most likely go through two different orthotics, with the goal of pain relief and gradual correction.
What is an Orthotic?
An orthotic is a clear, precisely fitted device that sits on your lower teeth. The orthotic is worn to help correct the alignment of your jaw and the muscles that insert into it. However, splints are made with set thicknesses, and generally worn at night. While being treated at TMJ and Sleep Center, you will begin by wearing a soft splint while your custom orthotic is being made. This approach helps make gradual adjustments and avoids overloading your muscles too quickly.
Once your orthotic is placed, you will notice your bite feels more comfortable as proper muscle finctions start immediately. When your jaw is properly aligned, you will also notice an improvement in other functions such as head posture, balance, and sleep. Your neck, shoulders, back, and whole body will be stronger with this optimized muscle positioning. “You live your life through your face”
How Often Do I Need to Wear an Orthotic?
Once you get your orthotic, it starts working immediately to help your jaw adjust to the correct position. It should be worn 24/7, especially when eating. It is constantly working to improve your jaw alignment and muscle integrity, so it is critical that your jaw completes all of its daily movements with that guide. The orthotic will be adjusted monthly as the bite changes over time.
Your orthotic will be worn on your lower teeth and will be nearly invisible. It is not as obvious as braces or a retainer. Knowing your orthotic won’t be visible makes it easier to wear in public settings, such as school or work. Thousands of TMJ sufferers have worn and adjusted, all the while becoming A-symptomatic.
How Long Do I Have to Wear an Orthotic?
Generally, phase I treatment includes two orthotics. Each phase lasts about four months as long as you comply with consistent wearing. Once your muscles have completed the main adjustment and your bite and posture have improved, you will move on to the second orthotic.
The second orthotic will feel different because your jaw and posture have already adjusted so much over the past few months. The goal of the second orthotic is to build on the progress that your first one has made, and finish correcting your bite and everyday movements “5000 times a day”
While it is not a common path, you may choose to get fitted for a permanent orthotic. This is something you can wear throughout your life to keep everything in its place. The goal of treatment with orthotics in phase I is to create posture and muscular stability. This will be addressed prior and through treatment. This makes muscles functional and happy!
Can an Orthotic Benefit Me?
Remember, an orthotic is only a part of your journey. If you are interested in learning how a custom orthotic can benefit you, contact TMJ and Sleep Center for a free cure consultation. We will discuss your symptoms, talk about a treatment path, and find out if TMJ treatment is right for you. Go to our website to listen to our podcast and learn more about TMJ and how we can help you.