A Guide To Using A Mouth Guard For TMJ Treatment
If you visit your dentist complaining of TMJ pain, there are two primary treatments they are likely to recommend. They will usually file down a few of your teeth a tiny bit in order to adjust your bite and take the pressure off your jaw. Then, they will have a custom mouthguard designed for you to wear at night. This will help keep you from clenching your teeth and grinding your teeth while you sleep, which should ease your TMJ pain. Wearing this mouthguard can take a little adjustment, but the guide below should help you adapt.
How can you adapt to using the mouth guard?
Most people find a mouth guard a little uncomfortable or bothersome the first few times they wear it. Understand that this is normal; like most other people, you just need a little time to adapt. First of all, be patient with yourself. Start wearing your mouthguard on a weekend night. Then, if you don't get the best sleep, you won't be dragging the next day. Put the mouth guard in right before you go to sleep, once you are already feeling sleepy. You should have an easier time falling asleep than if you were to put the guard in very early and then spend an hour thinking and worrying about it while lying in bed.
With each passing night, wearing your mouthguard will become easier. Most patients are fully adapted to their TMJ mouth guards within a month.
How do you care for your TMJ mouthguard?
Make sure you rinse your mouthguard each morning when you take it out. You should also dip your guard in mouthwash or a mouth guard cleaner that your dentist recommends. This will keep it from developing an unpleasant taste. Store the mouthguard inside of a case. (Most dentists will give you a case for your mouthguard.) This will keep it from losing its shape or absorbing odors from the environment.
What should you do if your TMJ pain persists even with a mouthguard?
Give the mouth guard at least a month before you judge whether it is impacting your TMJ pain. You may still have some lingering TMJ pain from the clenching and grinding you were doing before you got your mouthguard. If you still have an intolerable level of pain after a month, then let your dentist know. They may need to adjust your bite a little further, and they may recommend a treatment like braces to correct tooth misalignments that are contributing to your TMJ pain. In most cases, though, a mouthguard gives patients sufficient relief as long as it is worn regularly.
Mouthguards can be really helpful for the treatment of TMJ pain. If you have any additional questions or concerns about TMJ dental treatment, reach out to a local dental office.