A Night Guard Can Help Alleviate Pain from TMJ Disorder
TMJ is a painful disorder that is caused by swelling and irritation of the joints that allow the jaw to function, which can be caused by natural factors over time or a sudden impact such as whiplash. A minor misalignment in the jaw can lead to discomfort that not only persists in the jaw but can radiate throughout the face and neck. If left unaddressed, pain and discomfort will worsen and can lead to eventual surgery.
There are many at-home remedies to combat the pain caused by this disorder. The most common are lifestyle changes that include eating soft foods while avoiding hard and chewy foods, jaw stretches and exercises, and investing in a nightguard that will help prevent damage from teeth grinding while you sleep. A combination of these tools will help ensure that you can fight and prevent your condition from worsening.
Using a night guard to mitigate pain
When pain is caused by bruxism or teeth grinding, a nightguard is an easy and affordable solution to mitigate pain and prevent the condition from worsening. As a barrier between your teeth, a nightguard will prevent you from grinding or clenching your teeth while sleeping, which you are likely unable to control. In addition, it will also help to relax your facial muscles while sleeping, which will lessen the pain associated with TMJ.
You will likely feel immediate pain relief when you start using a nightguard, though you should not expect the pain to completely subside within the first few days. However, when used regularly, it is common for wearers to have significantly less jaw pain and will ensure that the issue of TMJ does not worsen over time, leading to added pain and potentially invasive surgery.
There are different varieties of night guards, and your dental professional can help determine which is best for your dental pain and mouth.
- Soft guards are flexible and made of a soft plastic that molds to your mouth. While they are flexible and light, they often have a shorter lifespan due to the tendency to bite down harder on the soft guard
- Hard guards are perfect for those with intense grinding habits as they are made of hard acrylic material. They are formed to fit your teeth and often have a longer lifespan due to the thicker material
- Dual guards are a combination of hard and soft guards and allow for a soft fit around the teeth but are finished with a hard acrylic shell that protects against intense grinding and jaw clenching
If your pain can be attributed to stress, grinding, or clenching, a nightguard is a great option to mitigate overnight causes of pain for a relatively low cost. There are options for over-the-counter and custom-fit nightguards that can guarantee a better fit and a more comfortable sleep. If you combine jaw strengthening and stretching exercises with the use of a nightguard, you will be able to alleviate the pain.
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