Do Night Guards / Mouthguards Prevent TMJ Problems?
Teeth grinding and clenching is a common habit known by dentists and doctors as bruxism. Bruxism can occur when awake or asleep. However, it is more common to grind and clench while asleep. Unfortunately, you have no control over bruxism while you are asleep. Brux habits can cause serious jaw pain, TMJ headaches and destruction of teeth. Bruxism requires interventions to reduce its long-term effects.
Bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching) is widespread. One out of three have these habits. Long-term consistent bruxism can lead to broken teeth, tooth enamel loss and, in severe cases, total teeth loss. Brux behaviors can lead to other TMJ disorders, which include teeth misalignment, jaw muscle tension and jawbone issues.
In most cases, dentists prescribe night guards or mouthguards to reduce damage to teeth. However, night guards and mouthguards do nothing to stop the symptoms of bruxism. Those who wear a night guard or mouthguard continue to grind their teeth at night. In fact, night guards can promote teeth grinding and clenching.
No matter the case, it is recommended to wear a night guard if you suffer from night-time teeth grinding. Night guards create a layer to protect your upper and lower teeth from being worn down from the grinding. Night guards provide a cushion to reduce the pressure your jaw creates when you grind your teeth at night.
A correctly fitted night guard needs to be worn until the symptoms are rectified. It is best to see an orofacial pain dentist who can make the right type of device that fits properly in your mouth. Unfortunately, custom-made night guards are expensive and can cost five hundred dollars or more. Less expensive over-the-counter night guards that are sold as "one-size-fits-all" won't provide a proper fit.
A combination of noninvasive treatments are the recommended first line of defense for bruxism. Night guards should be part of the treatment plan for bruxism until the habits are controlled. Using an organic OTC (over the counter) night-time topical pain relief ointment such as TJz Balm is safe for delicate facial skin. Massaging TJz Balm into the jaw area and along the masseter muscle with its patent pending formula and massaging applicator is effective for temporary pain relief. The cooling and warming effect at the site blocks the nerve impulse transmissions that cause pain. Facial skin is thin, and the joints and muscles are close to the surface, allowing for an effective penetration of the balm. Besides its active ingredient of natural menthol, TJz Balm contains organic wintergreen oil. This is a natural form of salicylate. Salicylates reduce joint inflammation, which in turn reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling. TJz Balm's other natural and organic ingredients also play a role in relaxation and pain relief. For example, organic lavender provides aromatherapy and may help with sleep and relaxation.
Proper tongue positioning and practicing jaw exercises and good posture during the day are extremely important.
Stress is often the cause of bruxism. Stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, meditation and relaxation exercises must also be part of the TMJ treatment plan.