The best night guard for TMJSeptember 15, 2021
If you suffer from TMJ, it’s likely because you clench or grind your teeth while you sleep. A simple solution for this painful condition is to wear a night guard while you slumber. It will also protect your teeth from issues that grinding and clenching can cause.
A night guard helps you keep your teeth slightly separated, allowing the jaw muscles to relax and put less pressure on the inflamed joint that causes TMJ pain. The best night guards are custom-fitted to your mouth, like enCore Guards Custom Dental Night Guard.
What to know before you buy a night guard for TMJ
There are several types of night guards. Here are the most common.
The least expensive night guards are stock night guards, which come preformed and ready to wear. These one-size-fits-all guards are more typical of athletic mouth guards. They can be trimmed to size. Though inexpensive, they tend to be bulky and too loose for many consumers. These don’t provide much protection and aren’t recommended by dentists for night protection.
A popular and affordable type of night guards is moldable, “boil-and-bite” style. These can be purchased over the counter and are made from a material that softens in boiling water. After you heat the guard, you bite down on it and conform the material to your teeth using your tongue and fingers. When the guard cools, it retains the shape of your impression.
At-home custom night guards
To step it up a notch, invest in a customized guard that requires you to make impressions yourself at home using dental trays and a provided kit. These molds are then sent to a lab where a custom-fitted guard is made. Mouth guards made in a dental lab offer a much better fit than the first two types but are expensive.
Dentist-made custom night guards
For the most precise fit and comfort, visit your dentist who can make impressions of your teeth in the office and then send them to a dental lab. Just like at-home custom night guards, you’ll have to wait several weeks for your customized night guard. Dentist-made guards are also the most expensive type of night guard.
If you know your TMJ is caused by grinding your teeth, you may also consider a night guard designed specifically for bruxism. For more information, take a look at the full teeth grinding guards from BestReviews.
Night guard for TMJ features
Night guards come in a range of thickness from 1mm to 3mm. A thin 1mm guard is ideal for light teeth grinders and can be worn comfortably during the day as well. A 2mm guard offers medium thickness and is ideal for moderate teeth grinders. A 3mm guard is considered thick and offers the most protection for severe grinders. It takes some time getting used to because of its bulk.
Soft night guards are made from rubber materials and offer light protection from teeth-grinding. If you clench your teeth, this cushion-like material may be all you need to relax your jaw while you sleep.