Do TMJ Symptoms Improve with a Mouthguard?

For painful TMJ symptoms, many patients find relief with a mouthguard.

Many people suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder try a range of solutions to get rid of the jaw pain and stiffness. Wearing a night guard is one of the common conservative treatments for TMJ disorder.

TMJ Symptoms

But is this an effective solution?

For some patients, a night guard can be helpful in managing TMJ symptoms. However, for others, more aggressive or conservative treatment measures may be more effective.

Night Guards Can Help Prevent Tooth Grinding and Clenching

Many patients with TMJ disorder tend to grind or clench their teeth at night, which can make symptoms worse. Wearing a night guard can help stop these habits.

However, buying an over-the-counter bite guard from the drugstore is not advisable in most cases. A mass-produced oral device may fit, but the prosplect of it fitting well enough to relieve your TMJ symptoms is unlikely. In fact, some patients report that over-the-counter night guards make the disorder more painful.

A custom-fitted night guard is more expensive, but the device stands a better chance at providing symptomatic relief.

Wearing an NTI Device Can Help Manage TMJ Symptoms

One type of custom-fitted oral appliance that works well for some patients with TMJ disorder is called an NTI-tss device, short for nociceptive trigeminal nerve tension suppression system.

This night guard is custom-designed to position the jaw in an ideal resting location. As such, wearing an NTI device can relieve jaw strain and help decrease unconscious jaw movement. Use this oral appliance every night, and you may find that your daytime pain and stiffness are greatly reduced, if not eliminated.

Other Conservative Measures Can Alleviate TMJ Symptoms

A night guard — custom-fitted or not — isn’t helpful for everyone with TMJ disorder. Consequently, oral surgeons often recommend other conservative treatment measures.

Massage, stretching exercises, stress reduction and other self-care practices work for some TMJ patients. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acupuncture, biofeedback and trigger point injections are among the many non-invasive methods that can help alleviate symptoms.

TMJ Symptoms May Persist After Conservative Treatments

For some patients, conservative treatments are enough to keep the pain and stiffness of TMJ at bay. For others, these measures don’t work, and surgical intervention may be recommended.

TMJ surgery is usually considered a last-resort treatment, but it can provide permanent relief from the disorder. Arthrocentesis or arthroscopy procedures are preferred, as these surgeries are minimally invasive. However, for more advanced cases involving structural problems in the joint, an open arthroplasty procedure may be required.

Dr. Maxfield and Dr. Partridge at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah specialize in treating jaw-related facial conditions, diseases and injuries, including TMJ disorder. Our professional team can help alleviate your pain and restore your jaw function. Contact one of our three convenient Salt Lake City area offices — located in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele — and schedule a consultation today to get on the road to relief from your TMJ symptoms.