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Anyone have any luck wearing a mouth guard at night?

By February 3, 2009 - 2:19pm
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I was just diagnosed with TMJ yesterday. It was the weirdest thing -- I just woke up one morning after a very restless night's sleep about 3 weeks ago with intense pain at my left jaw joint, and whenever I opened my mouth to yawn or chewed food, there were loud popping and grinding noises when my jaw moved. I knew that I'd had a bad night's sleep and drummed it up to being tense and maybe straining my jaw. I kept thinking it would just go away, because I've never had this problem before, but it didn't.

So here I am three weeks later still suffering, so I finally went to my dentist yesterday. He said I should have come in the very day I noticed it, and it would have been much easier to treat. (So much for procrastination.) At that time, he would have had me use ice for any joint swelling and then a heating pad, and then treated me with ibuprofen and a mouth guard. It's too late for the ice and heating treatment, but I've just started the ibuprofen -- I'm taking 600 mg three times a day for a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I was fitted for a night guard and it should arrive in about five days. My dentist said that my joint is just worn out and most likely inflamed because the clenching that I'm apparently doing in my sleep is the equivalent of running a marathon with that joint, and I'm probably stressing it out every single night without a break. I know I've been unusually stressed with work and everything else the past few weeks. I just had no idea that it was impacting me in this way.

So I'm wondering if there are any TMJ sufferers or teeth grinders out there who've had luck with a mouth guard. I'd love to hear that this popping, grinding and pain will actually go away. It's driving me crazy.

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EmpowHER Guest

i had to stop wearing my mouthguard after 2 months i developed a lump on my gum and my back top and bottom teeth feel like they are frozen all the time they feel like their dead

June 19, 2018 - 6:41am
EmpowHER Guest

My only comment...when you lose the expensive one from the dentist...go to your sports store and buy one for $8.

You fit them at home...they will stop any grinding and are FAR more durable then the one from the dentist.

Good luck.

June 20, 2011 - 8:33pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have been using a mouth guard on and off for about a year now and the past couple of times I have worn it I have woken to a popping jaw. I can only think the mouth guard is responsible for this. When I wear it I have this problem, when I do not wear it, I do not have this problem.

September 5, 2009 - 11:53am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I realize I'm replying to 5 year old post, but it's the first time I've read about anyone else having the same problem I'm having. I had a mouth guard made at my dentist's suggestion due to my grinding my teeth at night. Within days of wearing the guard I notice that my jaw makes a loud popping noise when I open my mouth or move my jaw side to side. It's annoying, but I do need to wear the guard. I told my dentist about it and he literally laughed at me, saying something like, "oh come on. The guard is helping to prevent these kinds of issues, not create them." Like he thought I was being a hypochondriac. I never had this problem before wearing the night guard, and after 7 years or so of wearing it the problem hasn't gotten any better. Not sure that there's much I can do about though. Nice to hear I'm not alone.

December 18, 2014 - 4:26pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Another reply to an old post, but I wanted to say I have a similar problem. I got an old night guard replaced and am now experiencing increased popping and locking in my jaw. The orthodontists and dentists keep saying that the night guard is the _treatment_ for these symptoms, but it seems more like the cause.

October 1, 2017 - 6:27am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I forgot to mention in my previous post that the 2 dentists checked me for TMJ and I apparently don't have it. All they could advise me is to not make my jaw pop intentionally. That it could cause problems over time. That's it. No solution to be had. It's either grind my teeth down at night or wear the guard and deal with the loud popping noise. Guess I'll go with the latter.

December 18, 2014 - 4:29pm

Hi Kristin -- TMJ is lovely, isn't it? I have it, too. One day I heard an extremely loud popping noise from my jaw that totally freaked me out. After that, my jaw made a slight grinding sound and I was in pain. I went to the dentist, who said I had TMJ, and referred me to a specialist to fit me for a nightguard. $1,000 later I had one & I still wear the same nightguard every night. All I can say is that the pain does subside. It just takes a while. I still have some jaw symptoms from time to time, but it is really under control now. Since you don't have the nightguard yet, my best advice is to try to sleep sitting up. This way gravity will help pull your jaw down a bit when you are sleeping.

February 4, 2009 - 4:08pm

Kristin, I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, have you any idea what triggered it? Is there a physiological cause? I have not personal experience with a mouth guard but I know people who have had to wear one for a long time. I think you may want to consider finding the root cause of your case. Here is what I know may be linked to Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ):

1. Tooth grinding or clenching as a result of stress or blood sugar imbalance

2. Misalignment of the teeth or the jaw (x-rays will confirm this)

3. Poor orthodontia or dental work performed

4. Injuries to the jaw

5. Bad posture or muscle and spinal alignment imbalance

6. Frequent gum chewing or prolongued thumb-sucking

7. Magnesium, calcium deficiencies or other nutrients.

Taking magnesium supplements daily should help you relax your nervous system and the musculature around the jaw. Calcium works synergistically with magnesium to relax tight muscles. MSM supplementation is wonderful to reduce muscle spasms and inflammation. I also heard this past month at a medical conference that supplements of Kava relaxes the nervous system and tight muscles.

I am sorry I could not shed light to the question on use of mouth guard but hope you get well soon and that you do not have to wear it for too long.

February 3, 2009 - 11:01pm
(reply to Coach Virginia)

Thanks, Coach Virginia!

I'm pretty sure that this was caused by stress -- I've been under more stress than usual lately, and I tend to internalize it which of course isn't very healthy. I've been told by my dentist that I grind my teeth at night, so I think this TMJ issue is a result of some serious, tense grinding. I've also been having nightmares lately, which makes me think I must not be sleeping well. Now that I'm taking huge amounts of ibuprofen, I'm really drowsy, which isn't helping.... I'm looking forward to starting with the mouth guard to see if that helps at all.

You mentioned magnesium supplements when I posted about the B vitamins I've been taking that have helped my restless leg syndrome, and I asked you about them (here's the link): https://www.empowher.com/community/ask/why-do-some-vitamins-give-me-bad-breath Please let me know what you think.

February 4, 2009 - 9:36am
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