Is a Mouth Guard for TMJ Different From A Regular Mouth Guard?

Have you ever woken up with a severely achy jaw, making it difficult even to open your mouth? If yes, then you might have also noticed the pain diminish over time, slowly settling down on its own. This is usually a sign of Bruxism, caused either by grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw during sleep. Because of this, dentists suggest getting a special mouth guard for TMJ.

Since Bruxism is a disorder that affects your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), it’s only likely to get a preventive oral appliance to stop the pain. In this blog, we’ll guide you through the different types of TMJ mouthguards and the best one suited for your needs.

What is TMJ?

Although TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, it’s typically used as a synonymous term to identify jaw pain and disorders. This can include anything from a dislocated or broken jaw to facial joint spasms and more. However, TMJ requires serious attention and should not be left alone as is, or it could lead to severe conditions.

Nevertheless, one of the most common TMJ disorders is a frozen or locked jaw. This is merely an extension of Bruxism and can be treated by practicing careful exercises and precautions.

Does Wearing a Mouth Guard Help With TMJ?

You might be thinking that mouthguards are limited to athletes and the like. But that isn’t necessarily true. Mouth or night guards are oral devices that keep your pearly whites safe and well-protected from all kinds of damage. In most cases, clenching your jaw is an unconscious habit, especially during sleep. One that can have serious consequences for your dental health since it’s not something you can control.

However, a mouth guard is like a protective barrier in the middle, preventing your teeth and jaw muscles from suffering in the long run. It even helps with the following:

  • Teeth Clenching
  • Teeth Grinding
  • Correcting the Position of Your Jaw & Bite
  • Relaxing the Overall Jaw & Facial Muscles
  • Preventing Lock Jaw
  • Reducing Facials Spasms & Pain

Types of Mouth Guards for TMJ

Although it might seem like there’s only one type of mouth guard, it’s anything but. Mouthguards are commonly referred to as ‘splints’ and are used to treat various TMJ disorders. So, to keep up with that, three of the main types of mouthguards for TMJ are:

Anterior Bite Plane: Specifically designed to prevent teeth from clenching together, this mouthguard focuses entirely on posterior teeth. It doesn’t cover your molars and can sometimes change the position of your back teeth if used for long.

Repositioning: These splints do exactly as they claim. They help to realign your upper and lower jaw, so they’re not out of shape. However, repositioning mouthguards are mostly used for TMJ disc disorders.

Stabilization: Allowing more access than the others, stabilization splints keep your upper and lower teeth from completely touching each other. They’re more commonly used by those prone to clenching or grinding their teeth and jaw really hard.

What Type of Mouth Guard is The Best For TMJ?

Since TMJ has a multitude of varying disorders under its belt, there really isn’t one type of mouthguard that can be labeled as the best. However, depending on the severity of your case, your dentist will pick out whatever splint suits you best. It mainly relies on whether your pain is acute or chronic. This helps to decide which method and appliance can soothe the ache long-term.

What’s The Takeaway?

All in all, different types of mouthguards exist for TMJ disorders. It’s up to your dentist to decide which appliance is best suited for your needs. If you also suffer from jaw pain or find yourself clenching your teeth too hard, contact Pearland Family Dentistry at (832) 649-7344 for the best treatment ever.

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