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QUESTION: I recently had all my bottom teeth removed and will soon have all the tops out as well as I'm getting dentures.I have to wait a few months to receive them. I've had TMJ for as long as I can remember. My question is simply this, once all my teeth are removed before I get my dentures, is there a mouthguard of some kind that I can wear at night mostly as to give my jaw muscles a break as my gums must likely will not close to touch each other once my teeth are removed and I'm already getting bad headaches from my jaw and having to compensate already got the the loss of teeth.I've researched the internet and haven't found anything rehashing this issue. Any help or advice will be much appreciated! Thank you in advance, Concerned in Ct#

ANSWER: this is a tough one...the only thing i can think of is to have your dentist make what we call an immediate denture...you have the remaining teeth removed and the denture placed at the same time. in that way  you will have teeth in place right away. afterwards, the gums may shrink while they heal. you will need relines, etc but at least you are always with teeth. see if this idea appeals to you

good luck

jeff dalin, dds

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the quick response...unfortunately, the option of immediates doesn't exist due to financial issues. Your response is one I'm seeing and it kinda surprises me that this hasn't  been an issue with anyone, especially with those with tmj..anyway, if such an item I asked about doesn't exist, my next question is, if I were to purchase one of those mouthguards they sell at pharmacies, and fit it comfortably to my mouth once my gums have healed, would it be a safe thing? It wouldn't affect or change my mouth in any way would it? Like once I'm healed and my mold is taken, would anything change my gums? If I pretty much make and wear something myself is it safe?

Answer
the reason we do not have TMJ issues is that we do it as an immediate denture and then there is not an overclosure problem. there are always teeth in there to provide a vertical "stop" (where the teeth meet each other). we do make all sorts of TMJ appliances for patients but they are all made to fit over teeth. without the teeth, there is nowhere for an appliance to sit. if you want to try to have something made like that, ask your dentist about custom making some sort of soft mouthguard that might fit on the gums. i would not try it yourself...ask your dentist for help here. good luck

jeff dalin, dds

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Jeff Dalin DDS

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general dentistry questions with topics ranging from cosmetic dentistry to dentistry for children

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Fellowships in American College of Dentists, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the International College of Dentists.

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