Many people have TMJ problems because of the involuntary habits of clenching or grinding their teeth (bruxism), especially at night. Problems in your temporal-mandibular joint (TMJ problems) can cause headaches, earaches, trouble closing your mouth, clicking or popping of the jaw, and pain or soreness in the jaw. Dental treatments to solve these problems are varied, but can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting your bite, filling gaps between the teeth or creating a mouthpiece (night guard) to prevent clenching or grinding that may be contributing to the problem. View the video below on TMJ and Bruxism.
Some More Things to Know about TMJ/Night Guards
Did you know that TMJ/Night Guards will be a major part of your dental future if you grind your teeth or clench them often? Unfortunately, once injury occurs to the delicate muscles and bones in the jaw joints, a great deal of pain and discomfort can occur. This includes headaches, facial pain, and pain in the joints themselves.
Even though many people are just finding out about TMJ/Night Guards, TMJ as a diagnosis has actually existed since the 1930’s. Today, a number of dentists are paying more attention to uneven tooth wear and chewing habits in an effort to preserve dental health as well as help their patients avoid as much pain as possible from TMJ. Fortunately, night guards are also becoming more popular with patients that grind their teeth or engage in other harmful habits during their sleeping and waking hours.
Advantages of Using TMJ/Night Guards
- Avoid excessive wear on molars and premolars caused by night time bruxism
- Prevent damage to roots and bone tissue from clenching teeth
- Prevent sprains and strains to muscles and tendons in the jaws from improper bite characteristics
- Reduce the impact of injuries on jaws and teeth
- Eliminate facial pain and headaches when underlying causes of TMJ are resolved
If you suffer from frequent headaches, or other painful facial conditions, TMJ/Night Guards may offer the best resolution. Without a question, if you tend to clench your jaws when angry, or grind your teeth at night, this may be the primary cause of your headaches and other problems. Rather than go on taking painkillers, you can resolve the problem with a relatively simple and safe dental appliance.
Issues that Result From Poorly Designed TMJ/Night Guards
As with other dental appliances, TMJ/Night Guards must be constructed using a personalized molding process. Aside from being sent out to labs for completion, you are likely to find that the process of being fitted for a night guard can occur over several visits. Unfortunately, if you choose a dentist that has a bad reputation when it comes to dental moldings, or one that does not use a reputable lab, it can be very aggravating. At the same time, even if you finally get a comfortable night guard, it may not do the job that it is supposed to do. Some other problems that may occur with TMJ/Night Guards include:
- A poorly constructed night guard will actually cause more damage to the jaw joints
- Night guards can increase the misalignment in bite patterns
- Loss of sleep from unconformable dental appliances
- Rubbing or other problems can lead to gum infections and irritation
If you have never worn dentures or bridges then you may not realize just how sensitive the gums are to irritation from dental appliances. Therefore, if you need a night guard for the treatment of TMJ, it is very important to choose a dentist that is highly skilled in creating personalized dental appliances. At the very least, if you are going to go through the expense associated with TMJ/Night Guards, you should have one that is comfortable as well as useful.