If you’ve been recommended a night guard to prevent the symptoms of jaw joint dysfunction (TMJ disorder or TMD), there are some things you should know about wearing your aligner daily and how it will affect previous dental work. Dr. Julie Thomas makes sure to explain all facets of mouth guard treatment for patients with TMD, including the following five important points:
1.) Night Guards do not Damage Previous Dental Work – Patients who have had previous cosmetic or restorative works, such as crowns or veneers, are often concerned about damaging these prosthetics with the use of a night guard. However, a night guard is typically recommended for patients with TMD-related bruxism, as mouth guards cover any prosthetic dental restorations. Ensuring a proper fit is key to allowing your mouth guard to promote the longevity of prosthetics and avoid damaging them, however. If your mouth guard is too tight, speak to our dental office for more information about custom fit for mouth guards that prevent TMJ dysfunction symptoms.
2.) Clear Aligners are not a Substitute for Dental Splints – While many dental patients who choose clear aligner therapy for straightening teeth may notice alleviation night-time teeth grinding in the short term, clear orthodontic aligners are not a replacement for a custom made dental splint. As the aligners are made to be thin enough to be discreet and comfortable for all day wear and invisibility, they cannot withstand the pressure of continued teeth grinding. After your orthodontic treatment is complete, it is best to protect your teeth with a TMD dental splint.
3.) Guards can be Made to Fit Upper or Lower Arches – TMD night guards can sometimes be problematic for those who have a sensitive gag reflex, especially if they are fitted to your upper arch of teeth. However, depending on your needs and the type of splint that will best suit them, some mouth guards can be made to fit your lower set of teeth. Lower arch mouth guards do not trigger the same gag reflexes and can still absorb the pressure of teeth grinding and clenching.
4.) Consistent Use is Key – As with most healthy habits, staying consistent is important to seeing results. Patients who only sporadically wear their nighttime dental guards may not see enough of an improvement in muscle function to help alleviate overnight teeth grinding. When worn each evening, however, muscles are given the opportunity to relax and pressure is properly absorbed so that patients experience less pain and soreness throughout the day.
5.) Custom Fit is Important – While mouth guards can be purchased at the drug store, a properly fitted dental appliance is the best way to ensure that you are comfortable while wearing the mouth guard and that it best fits your needs. As mentioned above, custom TMJ night guards are also better able to protect proper dental restorations. Over the counter mouth guards cannot produce the same experience as an appliance that is custom molded for your smile.
If you have questions about getting a mouth guard to prevent teeth grinding and prevent other TMD side-effects, contact our North Canton TMJ dentist today. We create custom-molded mouth guards and ensure best fit to meet your needs.