Mouth Guard Not Helping TMJ: What Are Your Other Options?

Are you one of those people who thought that wearing a mouthguard can help with your TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorder?

Have you tried using one, but it didn’t seem to improve your condition at all? I’ve got news for you – you’re not alone. Despite being a common treatment for TMJ, not all mouthguards are created equal. Some types may even exacerbate the problem, causing further discomfort and pain.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why your mouthguard might not be helping with your TMJ, and what other treatments you can explore to get relief.

1. Introduction to TMJ and night guards

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) can cause pain, discomfort, and limited mobility in the jaw. Night guards are a common solution for those suffering from TMJ due to grinding or clenching. However, according to Functional Performance Physical Therapy, night guards do not address the underlying issue causing TMJ pain. Night guards mainly prevent enamel wear and do not prevent grinding or clenching. In some cases, night guards can even increase muscle activity and worsen TMJ pain.

Moreover, TMJ pain is often caused by a displaced disc between the condyle and temporal bone. Night guards do not assist in placing the disc in the correct position. Some night guards also have uneven contact, leading to uneven muscle activation and more grinding and clenching. Over-the-counter night guards are especially problematic as they are difficult to fit properly, leading to misaligned bites and further TMJ problems in the future.

While some patients have custom night guards made by their general dentists, these are made primarily to address morning jaw soreness, sensitive teeth, or excessive wear on teeth and are not designed to treat the jaw joint itself. TMJ orthotics, on the other hand, are designed specifically to treat the jaw joint and change the position of the jaw joint to mitigate muscle pain or unlock a stuck jaw.

In conclusion, if a night guard does not improve TMJ symptoms, it is likely not the right solution for the problem. Patients with ongoing TMJ pain should consider consulting a professional who specializes in TMJ treatment to address the root cause of the problem and find lasting solutions.

2. Night guards do not address the root of TMJ pain

The nightguard is commonly used to treat TMJ disorders, but some patients are finding that they do not address the root of their pain. In fact, according to dentists at Park Ave Dental, the most common and effective treatment for TMJ disorders is a dental night guard, which can realign the jaw while a patient sleeps. However, the custom-fitted night guard must be ordered through a dentist, as regular mouth guards will not keep the jaw in the correct position.

Patients who already have a night guard may find that it does not help with their TMJ symptoms, as these guards are typically designed to address tooth-related issues – not joint problems. Custom night guards are made to fit the teeth precisely, with a smooth biting surface that is adjusted to fit an individual’s unique bite. Non-custom night guards, which are bought in stores and softened in hot water to fit over the teeth, are not designed to help a joint problem.

TMJ orthotics, on the other hand, are specifically designed to treat the jaw joint, allowing the position of the joint to be changed at the back end of the jaw to relieve pain or unlock a stuck jaw. If a patient’s existing night guard was made to relieve pain but is not helping or is making things worse, this may be a sign that the underlying condition is more complex than a night guard can treat.

In conclusion, while night guards can be effective in treating some TMJ disorders, they may not address the root of all TMJ pain and could even make symptoms worse if not appropriately fitted. Patients should seek the advice of a dentist to determine the best TMJ treatment plan tailored to their individual needs.

3. Night guards can increase muscle activity, worsening TMJ pain

According Functional Performance Physical Therapy, night guards do not help with TMJ pain, and can actually worsen it. While night guards may prevent tooth wear, they do not address the root cause of clenching and grinding. In fact, some night guards can increase muscle activity, leading to more TMJ pain.

The real issue with TMJ pain lies in the displacement of the disc cartilage between the condyle and temporal bone. Night guards do not assist in putting the disc back into place. Additionally, some night guards are poorly fitted and can misalign the bite, causing further problems.

Special oral appliances designed to position the jaw and unload the irritated TMJ joint can be effective, but only if the underlying issue of head and neck posture is also addressed. Forward head posture can cause the jaw to move back and displace the disc, leading to more pain.

If someone is experiencing TMJ pain despite wearing a night guard, it is likely that the appliance is not right for the situation. Custom night guards are made to fit precisely, but TMJ orthotics have a special design based on the diagnosis of the condition and are meant to treat the jaw joint.

In summary, night guards may not be effective in treating TMJ pain and can even exacerbate the issue. It is important to consult with a professional who specializes in TMJ treatment and to address the root cause of the problem, rather than continuously putting a band-aid over it.

4. Importance of disc cartilage in TMJ movement

The disc cartilage plays a crucial role in the normal movement of the TMJ. It serves as a cushion between the temporal bone and the condyle, allowing smooth gliding movement of the joint. When the disc is displaced or damaged, it can cause discomfort, clicking, popping, and even lockjaw. Night guards are often prescribed or recommended for people suffering from TMJ disorders, but they do not address the root of the problem. Although they can prevent enamel wear, they do not prevent grinding or clenching nor do they assist in placing the disc in the correct position. In fact, some night guards can increase muscle activity, leading to worsening TMJ pain.

It is important to note that there are special oral appliances designed to specifically position the jaw to unload the irritated TMJ joint and relax some of the jaw muscles. However, many people overlook the relationship between head/neck position and jaw position. Poor head/neck posture can contribute to forward head rotation, which can displace the jaw and cause TMJ pain. Correcting head/neck posture can greatly improve the effectiveness of oral splints.

Overall, it is essential to address the root cause of TMJ disorders rather than continuously putting a band-aid over the problem with a night guard. Seeking professional help from a TMJ specialist can provide a comprehensive evaluation and non-invasive treatments for long-term relief.

5. Night guards cannot correct disc displacement

Night guards have been a common remedy for TMJ disorders. However, recent studies have shown that night guards cannot correct disc displacement. The root cause of TMJ pain is often clenching and grinding of teeth, which can wear down enamel leading to tooth sensitivity and soreness. While night guards can protect the teeth from excessive wear and tear, they do not address the primary issue of clenching and grinding.

Moreover, night guards can even worsen the condition as they increase the activity of the muscles that clench, leading to more TMJ pain. The disc cartilage in a normal TMJ provides cushion and allows the condyle to glide along the temporal bone. Without the cushion, the bones can wear each other down, causing bone degeneration. Night guards do not help put the disc in the correct position, which remains the root cause of pain, clicking, popping and lockjaw in TMJ disorders cases.

Over-the-counter night guards are particularly problematic as they come with uneven contacts, causing uneven muscle activation, which leads to more clenching and grinding, further aggravating the problem. An ill-fitted night guard can misalign the bite and shift the jaw in the wrong position to create more TMJ problems later.

In conclusion, night guards may help relieve tooth sensitivity and soreness, but they cannot address the root cause of TMJ pain. Patients must consult a specialist who can recommend oral splints or orthotics designed explicitly to address TMJ disorders and not just protect teeth. Lastly, understanding the relationship between head-neck position and jaw position is crucial in treating TMJ disorders accurately.

6. Uneven contacts in night guards lead to muscle activation and more pain

When comes to treating TMJ, many people turn to night guards, but unfortunately, they may not be the solution they’re looking for. Studies have shown that uneven contacts in night guards can actually lead to more muscle activation and more pain for TMJ sufferers.

The problem with night guards is that while they may prevent enamel wear from grinding and clenching, they don’t address the root cause of the pain. They don’t assist in placing the displaced TMJ joint in the correct position, nor do they correct head and neck posture, which can worsen TMJ symptoms.

Uneven contacts in night guards can also cause muscle activation, leading to more clenching and grinding, and ultimately, more TMJ pain. This is particularly true for over-the-counter night guards, which are virtually impossible to adjust and precisely fit to an individual’s unique bite. Improper fitting night guards can actually misalign the bite and shift the jaw in the wrong position, further exacerbating TMJ problems down the road.

Overall, night guards may be a band-aid solution to TMJ disorder, but they don’t address the underlying problem. For those still experiencing TMJ pain even with a night guard, a consultation with a professional specializing in TMJ treatment may be necessary. By addressing the root cause of the problem, rather than putting a band-aid over the symptoms, long-lasting relief from TMJ pain can often be achieved.

7. Improperly fitted night guards can cause misalignment and future TMJ problems

Improperly fitted night guards can cause more harm than good, especially when it comes to TMJ problems. In fact, night guards can be one of the causes of TMJ pain. While night guards can prevent enamel wear by avoiding direct teeth contact, they do not address the root cause of the problem: grinding or clenching of teeth. It is essential to have a custom-made night guard that fits precisely to avoid causing further problems.

Some over-the-counter options for night guards do not have even contact with the teeth, leading to uneven muscle activation and further TMJ pain. Additionally, an improperly fitted night guard can misalign your bite and shift your jaw in the wrong position, causing more issues down the road.

Having an assessment by a professional that specializes in the treatment of TMJ is essential to avoid future problems. They can provide you with special oral appliances/splints that are designed specifically to position your jaw so that it can unload the irritated TMJ joint and relax some of the jaw muscles. Nonetheless, treating the head and neck to correct the jaw position is vital to achieving good results fully.

In conclusion, an ill-fitted night guard can cause misalignment and TMJ problems down the road, and custom-made oral appliances/splints are recommended. Seeking treatment by a professional that specializes in treating TMJ disorders is a step toward getting lasting solutions.

8. Head/neck position affects jaw position and TMJ pain

Research has shown that head/neck position plays a crucial role in TMJ pain and jaw clenching. When we slouch or have a poor posture, our shoulders round forward, and our head comes forward with the skull rotating up. This position increases the activity of the muscles responsible for jaw clenching and grinding. This cascading effect of forward head posture can move the jaw back and eventually displace the disc, which causes clicking popping, and TMJ pain.

Sleeping position can also influence how the head and neck are supported, which can increase or decrease the odds of jaw clenching and teeth grinding during the night. Sleeping on your back is considered the best sleep position for TMJ and bruxism as it helps avoid pressure on the jaw joint, provides support for the neck and shoulders, and reduces the chance of clenching and grinding.

When it comes to adjusting to a new sleeping position, it can be challenging, especially if you have been used to sleeping one way for many years. However, using supportive pillows and investing in a mattress designed for back sleepers may make the transition easier. After making the switch to back sleeping, you may find that you wake up well-rested and pain-free.

In conclusion, addressing the head/neck position is critical in addressing TMJ pain and jaw clenching. If you are experiencing teeth grinding, clenching, and TMJ pain, it is recommended that you consider scheduling a consultation with a specialist that specializes in non-invasive treatments for TMJ disorders, craniofacial pain, and neck pain.

9. Treatment options for TMJ beyond night guards

When comes to treating TMJ, night guards are not always the best solution. While they can prevent enamel wear and tear from grinding and clenching, they do not address the root cause of TMJ pain. In fact, some night guards can increase muscle activity and worsen TMJ pain.

The problem with night guards is that they do not assist in placing the disc between the condyle and temporal bone in the correct position. Fortunately, there are special oral appliances designed specifically to position the jaw and unload the irritated TMJ joint to provide effective relief.

However, TMJ pain may also be related to head and neck position. Poor posture can lead to more clenching and grinding, causing further TMJ pain. In such cases, it is important to address the underlying problem by correcting head and neck position to allow the oral splints to be fully effective.

Treatment options for TMJ beyond night guards may include physical therapy, dental appliances such as bite plates for sleep apnea, and even Botox injections. Additionally, stress reduction activities such as meditation or exercise may also help lessen TMJ pain. It is important to consult with a professional specialized in the treatment of TMJ to discuss all available options and determine the best course of action for individual needs.

10. Oral splints and treating the head and neck for effective TMJ relief

Or splints are a popular treatment for TMJ, but they may not address the root cause of the problem. While splints can position the jaw to relieve TMJ pain, they do not address the connection between head and neck position and jaw position. Poor posture can cause muscle activation that leads to clenching and grinding, exacerbating TMJ pain. Oral splints can also be difficult to fit and may cause misalignment of the bite, leading to further problems down the road.

To effectively treat TMJ, it is important to address both the jaw and the head/neck position. For instance, correcting posture can help to eliminate the clenching that leads to TMJ pain. Oral splints can be effective when used in conjunction with head/neck position correction, but they may not be a standalone solution.

If you are experiencing TMJ pain and have tried a mouth guard or oral splint with little success, consider consulting a professional who specializes in the treatment of TMJ and craniofacial pain. With a comprehensive evaluation and non-invasive treatment options, they can help you find relief from TMJ pain. Don’t live in pain – address the root cause of your TMJ with proper evaluation and treatment.

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