I am not sure why, but this plastic device does seem
to provide some relief in my case. I
was told right up front that it might not work for me, but I tried it and
it seemed to help quite a bit. It
allowed me to talk for longer without as much pain as before.
The device is referred to in the literature as an
oral splint or dental splint. It
is made of clear plastic and fits over the lower teeth and partially under
the tongue. The surface that
the tongue rests on is totally smooth, and so provides less stimulus if
the tongue is hypersensitive, as it was/is in my case.
I have noticed that the tongue pain that I experience
with speaking gets worse with some word/letter combinations.
For instance saying the letter “W” is painful, but with the
splint in place it is less painful.
I have not studied the affect in detail, but it seems that the
motion of the tongue changes with the splint in place, with less movement
and less pain.
In addition I think there is a component of counter
stimulus to the pain, that having something like the splint in your mouth
generates some competition with the pain in the lingual nerve.
I found no good articles to support the use of the
splint for pure neuropathic pain in the lingual nerve. There is literature on using dental/oral splints to control
muscle pain in the jaw muscles in people who grind their teeth and in
people who have the temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ).
In my experience, this device helped me, and when I
am off medication I use it consistently to be able to talk more freely
with less pain. One note, my
insurance did not totally cover this item and I did have an out of pocket
expense of $200.
I do not have any financial interest in this device,
or any other treatments mentioned on this web site.