In this short post we look into the different types of TMJ guards and when a neuromuscular dentist when recommend a professional fitting for one.
All About TMJ Night Guards
Your dentist may instruct you to wear your properly fitted mouth guard (oral appliance, splint) at night while you are sleeping. The device will fit over your teeth – your upper teeth, your lower teeth or both – with the goal of reducing night grinding, bruxism, tooth wear, tooth sensitivity, tooth mobility, joint pain, muscle pain or even recurring lockjaw symptoms.
The biting surface of the device can be custom-designed to address your specific issues. For example, it may include inclines or ramps to strengthen unstable TMJ ligaments or displaced discs. Your dentist also will be able to make modifications to the device as your mouth adjusts to the guard and the treatment it provides.
All About Daytime TMJ Guards
If you are experiencing extreme discomfort or jaw locking, your dentist may recommend you wear a mouth guard during the day. Wearing a daytime guard provides stability to the TMJ and discourages teeth clenching or any biting behaviors (such as nail biting or pencil chewing) that could be worsening your symptoms.
A daytime appliance also is a tangible reminder to patients –especially those experiencing stress or anxiety — to keep their jaw in a relaxed position with their teeth apart.
If your TMJ symptoms are severe, you may need to wear a mouth guard both day and night. With a custom-made appliance, you should see some immediate pain relief as well ongoing improvement of your symptoms.
In conclusion, mouth guards are an important part of TMJ treatment. In many cases, they eliminate or greatly reduce the conditions that cause TMJ pain and discomfort.
In order to get the best results, however, it is critical to wear a guard that fits your mouth and that is designed for your specific needs. Therefore, you should visit a professional with experience in treating TMJ to be professionally fitted by a neuromuscular dentist for a mouth guard.