Hello Mr. Gold,
I have a question about possibly asking my dentist to make me a mouthguard. I would normally ask him this question, but I'm currently going to college a few hundred miles away and he doesn't really check his email much. I have gotten some great answers for other dentists on here before, but you seem to be an expert on TMJ.
My jaw has been popping since I was a small child. I am 22 at the moment, but it seems that it has gotten a little worse. I mean sometimes my jaw just locks when I open my mouth wide or sometimes when I open it to brush my teeth. The worst is when I am eating and it just randomly locks. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does it is a bit painful. Its not an intense pain, but it would be great if there was no pain.
I know there are some solutions to my problem like surgery, but I do not want to go under the knife for this. I'm thinking that getting a mouthguard is the best solution. I think that I have been grinding my teeth at night because I have been a bit stressed out lately. I feel that if I get a mouthguard, I won't grind my teeth and my TMJ pain would hopefully calm down a bit.
The thing is, I have a retainer that I wear pretty much every night. I got braces back when I was in high school, but I still wear my retainer so that my teeth don't shift. How can I possibly wear a mouthguard for my TMJ if I also have to wear my retainer? Thank you for taking the time to read this and any help is greatly appreciated!
First thing: a mouthguard won't stop you from grinding your teeth; it will only put padding between them.
TMJ dysfunction is a conditioning problem, not amenable to a surgical solution. Your muscles of biting and chewing are way-contracted and prone to contract. The pain is both muscular and mechanical at the TMJ.
I have provided answers to questions about TMJ Dysfunction in articles I have posted. Please see http://somatics.com/Treatment_for_TMJ,1.htm
Finally, mouthguards are expensive. There's a much more effective and less expensive approach. Read.