Should you be using a night guard?

Categories: TMJ

Three-year old boy shows myofunctional trainer to illuminate mouth breathing habit. Have you been having headaches? Does your jaw hurt? Are the muscles in your shoulders, neck, and face tense and sore all of the time? It may be because of problems with your jaw joint, and a night guard may be able to help relieve these painful symptoms.

What causes jaw problems?

Jaw problems are known as “temporomandibular joint disorder,” or “TMD.” They are also sometimes known as “TMJ” (short for the temporomandibular joint). Problems with your jaw can lead to many issues, such as pain while chewing, constant headaches and even migraines, a sore jaw that locks up and/or makes clicking and popping noises, and pain in the shoulders and neck.

There may be a few different reasons why you have TMD. It can be caused by an uneven bite and misalignment of the upper and bottom teeth, missing or crooked teeth, poor posture, trauma to the face, or arthritis. It can also be caused by a constant grinding of the teeth (bruxism).

How is TMD treated?

Your treatment for TMD depends on what is causing it. However, a night guard or another kind of oral appliance can help to relieve some of the stress on the jaw muscles.

A night guard

• Is noninvasive and safe and easy to use. It is a device that simply fits over your teeth while you sleep.

• May take a few nights to adjust to, but soon you won’t even notice you have it in

• Can prevent your top and bottom teeth from touching so they can’t grind together

• Can align your bite

• Protects your teeth from any damage that tooth grinding can cause. Over time, constant tooth grinding can wear off tooth enamel, damage fillings and other restorations, and crack teeth.

• Lets your jaw muscles relax, which can prevent pain and headaches

The staff at Pacific Northwest Smiles will work to determine why you are having jaw problems and what the best solution is so that you can have some relief. If a night guard or another oral appliance is the answer, they can create a custom device just for you. Call the office in Mill Creek, Washington, at 425-357-6400 today!