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Dentistry/Sore Tongue


Dear Dr. Teig,

My dentist recommended a mouth guard to control muscle spasms caused by teeth clenching during sleep. After wearing the device for several months, however, I have developed a persistently sore tongue. Of course, I have tried not wearing the mouth guard to see if I might revert to a relaxed tongue and still have no relief. Apparently I have developed a new bad habit instead of solving the old one! Any suggestions for getting rid of this annoying pain? Are there any exercises for relaxing the tongue?


Sissy -  What you are experiencing by wearing the guard is the relaxation of the muscls, but there is a loss of the sensation of knowing what the muscles are doing.  So this loss of, what is called proprioception, sort of makes your tongue and jaw muscles to feel "lost in space".  So there is a trade off.  It is usually not the tongue that is the problem, but the jaw muscles with the guard are not aware if they are biting on the tongue.  The answer might be to wean off of the guard or wear it less so the body has a better feeling of what is actually there.  I'm sorry that there is no simple answer, but what you are dealing with is common in many who use mouth guards.


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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

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