Do Night Guards Help Your TMJ?

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If you’re experiencing a clicking, grinding jaw, or a jaw that locks up when you eat or speak, you already know how annoying a disorder of the TMJ can be. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is essentially the hinge of your jaw–when something is out of whack with this joint, it’s called a temporomandibular disorder (TMD). There are several possible treatments for TMDs, but night guards are an accessible treatment option.

How Do Night Guards Help With TMJ Problems?

The temporomandibular joints are two of the most complex joints in the body, working with muscles in your jaw to open and close your mouth, swallow, and chew. When these joints are injured or become strained, they can stop working together efficiently, resulting in pain and other symptoms.

In theory, nightguards can treat a common cause of TMD by relieving pressure on the jaw throughout the night. If you grind your teeth (bruxism) this can put a lot of strain on these joints and the surrounding muscles. Night guards support your teeth and jaw, so you can relax while you sleep.

In most cases, problems with your TMJ will resolve on your own. Night guards can offer immediate relief and allow your TMJ to recover, so your symptoms resolve sooner rather than later.

Custom-Fitted Night Guards Are More Comfortable for Sleep

There are many options for night guards, including bite-and-boil kits and one-size-fits-all splints that you can buy over the counter or online. While over-the-counter options are often more economical, they may do more harm than good. Not only will they be more uncomfortable, perhaps worsening the problem rather than alleviating pain and discomfort, but they may also improperly support your jaw, resulting in sleep and breathing issues.

While boil and bite options are the better economical choice, you have to be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly. Even small mistakes in the process can result in an imperfect fit that strains your jaw and makes your teeth sore in the morning.

A custom-fitted night guard will be the most comfortable and safest option.

Custom Night Guards Are Built for Maximum Comfort and Support

Similar to the boil-and-bite method, your custom night guards begin with an impression. Your dentist will take impressions of your top and bottom teeth, so they can create a cast of your teeth, bite, and palate.

In the lab, one of several possible materials will be molded over your cast to provide the closest possible fit to your teeth. These can be soft or hard, but they won’t irritate the gums or teeth. They create a buffer between the top and bottom teeth to prevent painful grinding and clenching.

If your dentist doesn’t get the perfect fit right away, they can continue to adjust the night guards. This isn’t the case with other forms of night guards.

If Night Guards Aren’t Right For You, You Have Other Options

While night guards offer immediate and lasting relief for many people, they may not be right for you. The advantage of having a dentist who knows you is that they can craft a treatment that’s right for your unique needs and preferences. Your dentist can offer you other treatment options, such as:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Pain relievers
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery

Pristine Smiles is the Best Family Dentist in Knoxville for TMD

When your oral health is interfering with your quality of life, it can be helpful to have a dentist who knows you–who is familiar with your preferences, schedule, and existing health problems. At Pristine Smiles, we offer family dentistry with a comprehensive suite of services under one roof. When your dentist knows every facet of your dental health, they can create a treatment that’s truly right for you. Call 865-234-4417 or fill out our contact form to schedule your appointment.

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