Dental Night Guard: The Answer to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder and Bruxism

A dental night guard prevents you from grinding your teeth while you sleep, and improve your sleeping patterns. If you want to learn more about getting the custom fitted mouth guards, you can book an appointment at DOSNorwestDental.com.au.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJD and Bruxism may have adverse oral health problems if left unchecked. Although the effects may not be prominent at first, it can develop into a complicated dental problem that may damage teeth and teeth loss. That is where a dental night guard comes into play. Custom fitted mouthguards provide the best protection for your teeth and jaws. It prevents you from grinding your teeth while you sleep, and improve your sleeping patterns. If you want to learn more about getting the custom fitted mouth guards, you can book an appointment at DOSNorwestDental.com.au.

Understanding TMJD and Bruxism

Temporomandibular joint disorder, better known as TMJ and Bruxism, is two of the most common factors that may cause sleep disturbance and fatigue. They have similar symptoms that affect how you feel upon waking up. However, there’s a distinction between the two and understanding the differences can help you prevent or treat the disorder effectively. Mouthguards are the best way to avoid the complications of the said disorders, and we will also cover the perks and benefits of wearing one. So, before we begin, let’s differentiate the meaning of TMJD and Bruxism first. This knowledge will help your dentist with their diagnosis, and they can provide you with the best treatment possible. 

The Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

The temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJD affects our temporomandibular joints, ligaments, and muscle tissues in our jaws. You may feel the sensations and symptoms are pain, tenderness, and difficulty moving your jaw, especially when chewing. It can also affect your sleeping patterns and render your sleep non-revitalising. It’s usually the reason why you toss and turn during the night. Here are the symptoms:

  • Neck or face pain upon waking
  • Jaw muscle tension and stiffness
  • Restricted jaw movement
  • Lock-jaw
  • Popping or clicking sound from the affected TMJ area
  • Malocclusion or jaw misalignment

Possible Causes of TMJD

  • Joint erosion
  • Arthritis
  • Habitual or conscious teeth grinding
  • Inborn jaw problems

Other Associated Causes:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Chronic stress
  • Bad posture that causes strain on neck and face
  • Poor eating habits
  • Orthodontic braces or retainers

Bruxism or Teeth Grinding

The unconscious gnashing and grinding of the teeth are called bruxism. The condition may not be serious; however, if left untreated, it can damage your teeth. Damaged teeth are susceptible to bacterial infection and other oral health problems. In some cases, it may even lead to falling teeth and receding gums. Here’s a list of the symptoms as provided by Woonona clinic:

  • Damaged teeth
  • Worn teeth enamel
  • Teeth sensitivity
  • Neck or face pain upon waking
  • Jaw muscle tension and stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Lack of sleep
  • Fatigue

The Benefits of Using Dental Guards

Mouthguards are the answer to TMJD and Bruxism. They are the most convenient and cost-effective way to manage the disorder without invasive procedures. They are highly available, inexpensive, and durable. Here is the list of the benefits:

  • Provides maximum teeth protection
  • Helps with teeth alignment
  • Improves sleep
  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces TMJ pain
  • Gradually corrects TMJ and Bruxism
  • Prevents surgery
  • Inexpensive
  • Available as OTC

Types of Mouth Guards

Mouthguards come in three different types. Although they have the same purpose of protecting the teeth from TMJD or bruxism and sports injuries, it’s imperative to learn their differences. So, here are the three types of mouth guards that you can try, depending on your condition, or as recommended by your dentist:

  • The Stock Dental Mouth Guard: This type of mouthguard is the most common. They are available in most sporting goods stores and are quite inexpensive. Despite their advantages, the only downside of wearing a stock dental mouth guard is the fit. They are made with a standard shape and size that usually doesn’t fit right. You can still wear them if you’re looking for quick and temporary relief from TMJD or bruxism. 
  • The Boil and Bite Mouth Guards: The advantage of the boil and bite mouthguard over the stock type is that it can be heated via warm water and reshaped with tongue pressure. They are also widely available and can be purchased at most sporting goods centres. The thermoplastic materials that it is made of makes it malleable.
  • The Custom Fitted Mouth Guards: This type of mouthguard is the best among all the other types because they are made to fit perfectly as per your dentist’s instructions. The process takes a few days to complete, but the wait and expenses are all worth it. They provide the maximum protection to your teeth because of their perfect fit. It can be more expensive than the first two types we mentioned above because they are individually created. 

You can use any of these mouth guards if you have TMJD or bruxism. However, we highly recommend the custom fitted night guard above all. They optimise the efficiency of the treatment for TMJD and bruxism, which ultimately leads to better sleeping patterns.

Mouth Guard Care

  • Clean thoroughly with cold water 
  • Brush with mild soap
  • Rinse thoroughly
  • Do not expose to direct sunlight or high-temperature
  • Store in a clean container when not in use

Aside from these care tips, we also advise practising proper dental hygiene.

  • Brush at least twice a day
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Use a pea-sized toothpaste
  • Use fluoride only if advised by your dentist
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Clean your tongue
  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash

Takeaway

The importance of using the right type of dental night guard can save you from spending too much money on complicated cases. They can provide the relief you need from a restless night’s sleep, affecting your waking hours. They may be uncomfortable at first, but after a few nights, we’re sure that you’ll get used to them. We also advise regular visits to a specialist to check the status of your TMJD or bruxism. They can determine if the dental night guard is effective or not. Please follow your dentist’s instructions at all times.

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