Why Store-Bought Grind Guards Aren't The Answer For TMJ Sufferers

If you struggle with the symptoms and pain caused by temporomandibular joint disorder, chances are you want a solution. What might seem like an easy fix is to reach for a store-bought grinding guard, but is this really what you should do? Surprisingly, store-bought grinding guards may not be the best choice for your situation. Here's what you should know.

Why You Should Have One

Grinding guards, in general, are an excellent choice for people with TMJ. This is because those who have TMJ have a tendency to grind their teeth in their sleep. This can not only increase your risk of having jaw pain and stiffness during the day but can also lead to worn down and damaged teeth over time. Wearing an appropriately-fitted grinding guard can help you to prevent these problems.

The Problem With Store-Bought Solutions

Store-bought grinding guards sound like a great choice, at face value. Most of them are designed to mold to your teeth after warming them in hot water. However, this is where the problems begin.

These guards are designed to fit the teeth but not their arch. This means that if the arch of your jaw is abnormal, as it often is with people who develop TMJ, especially if it's because of a prior injury, these guards may not fit properly.

To make matters worse, an ill-fitting grinding guard with TMJ can result in the jaw joint locking on one or both sides of your mouth. What this means is that you'll wake up only to find that you can't fully open your mouth when you wake up. This can obviously be alarming.

While this guide is here to help you to understand the problem with store-bought grinding guards, you can actually just look at the packaging's fine print. The vast majority of store-bought grinding guards have fine print warning those with injuries and TMJ to not use the product, as it can cause unwanted problems.

The Superior Alternative

Of course, this doesn't mean that you need to let your teeth get blunted by grinding, or your jaw to continue going through stiffness. Instead, you should talk to a dentist about getting a custom grinding guard.

Custom grinding guards are made the same way that other dental prosthetics are, like orthodontic retainers and dental crowns. These products are created after taking a mold of your real teeth and building the product based on those measurements. This ensures that a custom grinding guard will perfectly fit the arch of your teeth and jaw, as well as the placement of each individual tooth. This will provide the protection you need for your teeth and jaw without running the risk of any problems that store-bought grinding guards can cause. 

For more information about TMJ dental treatment, reach out to a local dental office, like Allure Dental.