You are here:

Dentistry/Mouthguard Question

Advertisement


Question
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!

Sincerely,

Kevin

Answer
Hi, Kevin.

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.  

Dentistry

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Lawrence Gold

Expertise

can answer: TMJ Syndrome/TMJ Dysfunction / TMD jaw pain popping and clicking of jaws earaches TMJ/TMD headaches can't answer: drug-related questions

Experience

clients with jaw pain, jaw joint pain, limited ability to open the mouth, headaches

Organizations
found in my existing expert profile

Publications
see http://somatics.com/gold.htm includes The American Journal of Pain Management and The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients articles on TMJ Dysfunction http://somatics.com/Treatment_for_TMJ,1.htm

Education/Credentials
Certified practitioner The Rolf Method of Structural Integration (1990) Hanna somatic education(TM) (1992)

Awards and Honors
found in my existing expert profile

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.