Do you experience jaw pain? If so, you may be clenching and grinding your teeth at night while you sleep. If this is the case, a night guard may help you significantly.
What is TMJ?
TMJ or TMD is a disorder or pain of the temporomandibular joint. This joint group is located at the base of your jaw below your ears. It helps you open and close your mouth to eat and speak properly. However, when the teeth are misaligned or facial trauma occurs, the TMJ may come out of alignment. This can result in TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) as well as teeth grinding and jaw clenching, also known as bruxism. The long-term effects of these issues include weak or worn down teeth, shifting teeth, sensitivity, and eventually tooth loss.
Signs You Might Need a Night Guard
A night guard is often a highly effective treatment for TMJ and bruxism, as it provides a layer of cushioning between the upper and lower jaw. Some of the signs you need a night guard to protect your smile include the following:
- Your jaw clicks, pops, or you feel a grinding sensation when you open and close it
- Your partner or loved one has observed you clenching your jaw and/or grinding your teeth while you sleep
- You wake up with jaw pain
- You are dealing with increased tooth sensitivity
- You frequently wake up with a headache
- You have a chipped tooth or notice your teeth are wearing down
If a night guard is a good treatment option for you, your dentist will create one that is unique to your jaw to ensure that it fits properly. You will be advised to wear it every night while you sleep to provide maximum protection against TMJ and bruxism.
For TMJ that is the result of misaligned teeth, orthodontic treatment options may include traditional braces or clear Invisalign aligners.
No matter what method is right for you, the important thing is seeking relief sooner rather than later. Contact your Snow Family Dentistry dentist today to discuss TMJ/bruxism treatment!