What Mouth Guard is Best for TMJ & Bruxism
Mouth guards can be used to make living with bruxism and TMJ symptoms more tolerable. It's important to note that night guards do not cure your TMJ or bruxism, but can help treat and relieve their symptoms.
There are several types of mouth guards that range in style and price, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the best options to up your mouth guard game in 2020:
- Best for Heavy Teeth Grinding: JS Dental Lab Hard Guard
- Best for Light/Moderate Teeth Grinding: ProTeeth Soft Night Guard
Please click here to learn more.
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is a medical condition where a person grinds of clenches their teeth at night while they sleep. More commonly known as "night grinding", approximately 20% of the American population grind their teeth while they sleep and most aren't even aware of it. Grinding your teeth not only causes neck pain, headaches, toothaches & jaw pain, more importantly, long term bruxism can lead to broken teeth, loss of tooth enamel and in severe cases, loss of teeth.
What causes bruxism?
Even though the exact cause is unknown, it's believed that bruxism is caused in large part by stress and anxiety. Other common suspected causes include:
- Medication side effects
- Sleep Apnea
- Drug, alcohol, and tobacco use
- Jaw Misalignment
What Mouthguard is best for Bruxism?
Known as night guards, dental guards, bite splints or nocturnal bite splints, these mouthguards can easily reduce the symptoms related to bruxism while you sleep. When you clench your jaw at night, these guards work by separating your teeth and reducing the tension build up in your jaw muscles. By doing so, the guards acts as a cushion barrier between the upper and lower teeth which prevents jaw pain and protects your teeth enamel.
Bruxism night guards can be purchased from a dentist’s office or more cost effectively, from a specialized online retailer like Nxtrnd Mouthguards. We recommend a mouthguard like the Nxtrnd RISE Bruxism Night Guard.
What is TMJ?
Temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ for short, is a dysfunction of the joint that connects the jaw to the skull. It is estimated that 5 to 15% of the population suffer the effects of TMJ of which 70% are women. This disorder causes pain to the jaw and arthritis if gone untreated over long periods of time, and you may experience the following symptoms:
- Popping sounds when opening the mouth
- Pain while chewing
- Sore jaw
- Pain that radiates down the face, neck & shoulders
- Difficulty opening & closing your jaw
What causes TMJ?
The exact cause of a person's TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. However, some suspected causes include:
- Previous injury to the joint
- Excessive stress on the jaw muscles
- Abnormal bite or teeth alignment
What mouthguard is best for TMJ?
Often called a TMJ splint, your dentist might of recommended you wear a hard plastic dental guard either on your upper or lower teeth which can create discomfort and effect your sleep over long periods of time. The best night guards for TMJ will be designed to help reposition, stabilize, and reduce the pressure on your jaw eliminating the symptoms related to TMJ and remain comfortable in your mouth.
In fact, by purchasing a mouthguard properly designed, you should find relief from your TMJ symptoms without the discomfort caused by poor fitting hard plastics. We recommend a mouth guard like the Nxtrnd RISE TMJ Night Guard.
Can a night guard make TMJ or Bruxism worse?
The problem with night guards is that most brands do not actually understand the root of the problem and produce badly designed products. In fact, the design of many night guards cause unevenness of tooth contact with the night guard which can increase the act of clenching, grinding and the problems associated with TMJ. Because many mass produced night guards come as a "one-size-fits-all", their fit is not optimal and can sometimes cause misalignment of the jaw further accentuating jaw pain and soreness.
Is a top or bottom night guard better?
Before purchasing a nightguard, many people ask the question “Should I Buy an Upper or Lower Night Guard?” They also wish to know “what is the difference between an upper or lower night guards?”
On most cases of bruxism, either top or bottom night guards will provide the same results. Due to slow acceptance and use of lower night guards in the dental industry, the upper night guard is still the most common type made and worn and, in some cases, is considered more comfortable than lower guards.
At Nxtrnd, we recommend you talk to your dentist if you’re still struggling with which type of night guard is best suited to your needs. An alternative and cost-effective option for creating a great fitting custom night guard is to contact us here at Nxtrnd Mouthguards.