01 Sep How Does The TMJ Night Guard Work
Can a TMJ Night Guard Help You?
Have you been diagnosed with TMJ disorder or suspect you have it due to worn teeth and other common TMJ symptoms? If so, a fast solution is to get a custom-fit plastic splint, also known as a night guard.
How Does The TMJ Night Guard Work?
The clear plastic appliance effectively protects the teeth of a person with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction. The temporomandibular joint is the hinge connecting the lower jaw to the skull.
With the night guard fit over the top or bottom teeth, it helps teeth function amicably. By keeping teeth apart, the jaw muscles can relax, and pain levels decline too. The plastic shield also helps to protect the supporting bone and joint surfaces by stopping bruxism (clenching or grinding of teeth). The TMJ night guard can help prevent further wearing of the teeth, as well.
Other Appliances for TMJ Disorder
A night guard is only one of many splints available for helping patients with TMJ disorder. One alternative is an anterior repositioning appliance (ARA) that locks the jaw in a forward position to take pressure off the jaw and help reposition disks.
An ARA can be worn around the clock. Orthotic stabilization appliances, of which there are many, can be worn solely at night or 24 hours a day, depending on the dentist’s recommendation for your unique case.
Taking a Proactive Step
An oral splint, such as a night guard, represents a proactive step toward protecting your healthy teeth, all while you sleep. The bite guard is custom-made to your mouth by a dental professional such as Dr. Moradi.
As per recent studies, bruxism can cause upwards of 80 times the wear and tear on teeth than people who do not clench or grind their teeth. Thankfully, a simple splint worn over the teeth until the bite is stabilized can offset this often-involuntary habit that typically occurs while sleeping.
How Long Should You Wear the Appliance?
A night guard is not a permanent fixture in the mouth. Instead, the appliance helps the jaw joint come into the proper position when you wear it, which is often at nighttime.
When you remove the appliance, the TM joint returns to its former dysfunctional positioning. While you may not feel immediate pain because the muscles have had hours to relax at night, by the end of the day, the muscles are tense again. For this reason, you need to wear the TMJ night guard whenever you go to sleep.
Ways to Relax Muscles and Reduce TMJ Pain
While a night guard is one way to mitigate TMJ pain and reduce muscle tension, there are longer-lasting alternatives. Dr. Moradi is the leading TMJ specialist in Houston and can develop a treatment plan to stabilize your jaw, removing the need for a night guard in the long run. Simply contact our dental office at 713-590-9777 to learn more about your options.