Relieve TMD symptoms with a mouthguard: Here’s how
Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMD, is a condition that affects the joints and muscles in the jaw. TMD can cause a wide range of symptoms, including jaw pain, difficulty opening and closing the mouth, clicking or popping sounds in the jaw, and headaches. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available to relieve these symptoms, including the use of a mouthguard.
A mouthguard is a dental appliance that is worn over the teeth to protect them from damage. While most commonly associated with sports like football and hockey, mouthguards can also be used to treat a variety of dental conditions, including TMD. When used for TMD, mouthguards are typically referred to as oral splints or occlusal splints.
One of the main ways that mouthguards can help relieve TMD symptoms is by reducing the amount of force placed on the temporomandibular joint. When a person clenches their jaw or grinds their teeth, it puts additional pressure on the joint and the muscles surrounding it. This can lead to inflammation and pain.
By wearing a mouthguard, the teeth are held in a slightly different position, which can help reduce the amount of force on the joint and relieve the symptoms of TMD.
Another way that mouthguards can help with TMD is by preventing teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. Many people with TMD also grind their teeth, which can exacerbate their symptoms. Mouthguards can help by providing a barrier between the teeth, preventing them from grinding against each other. This can not only reduce TMD symptoms but also prevent tooth damage and wear.
Mouthguards can also help by providing support to the muscles in the jaw. When a person has TMD, the muscles in their jaw may become strained or overworked, leading to pain and discomfort. A mouthguard can help support these muscles, reducing the strain and allowing them to relax. This can help alleviate pain and improve overall jaw function.
It is important to note that not all mouthguards are created equal. When using a mouthguard for TMD, it is important to use one that is specifically designed for this purpose. These mouthguards are typically custom-made by a dentist to fit the individual’s teeth and jaw. This ensures that the mouthguard is effective at relieving TMD symptoms and is comfortable to wear.
In addition to using a mouthguard, there are a number of other treatments available for TMD. These may include physical therapy, medication, and surgery in severe cases. It is important to work with a healthcare professional to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.
In conclusion, if you are experiencing symptoms of TMD, a mouthguard may be a helpful treatment option. By reducing the amount of force on the temporomandibular joint, preventing teeth grinding, and supporting the muscles in the jaw, a mouthguard can help relieve pain and improve jaw function.
However, it is important to work with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.