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Wednesday, December 09, 2009 Mali, Community Member, asks

Q: Do mouth guards help with TMJ pain that is caused by clenching?

It seems that the main cause of my TMJ pain is clenching at night.   I want to try a mouth guard, but I am afraid that it won't help with clenching, since I'll still be able to tighten those muscles.  It's a pretty expensive gamble.  I'd prefer to address the stress that is leading me to clench (easier said than done)...

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Answers (1)
Karen Lee Richards, Health Guide
12/10/09 9:45am

Since I don't have TMJ, I can't give you an answer from personal experience, however, it is my understanding that mouth guards are designed in such a way that they do relax the muscles that are tightened when you grind your teeth.  There does seem to be quite a bit of debate as to whether it is necessary to get one from your dentist or if one from the drug store is adequate.  I would tend to think that a mouth guard specifically designed for you would do a better job than one off the shelf, but as I said, I don't know that from experience.  I found a discussion of the subject you might be interested in reading:  Night Mouth Guards


There's also another option you might want to consider – a product called GrindAlert that is basically a biofeedback device that is supposed to train you to stop clenching and grinding.  I spoke with the inventor, Lee Weinstein, a few months ago.  I also did some checking on his background to make sure this product wasn't some kind of scam.  He has an impressive history as an inventor.  Then I asked a TMJ expert to speak with Mr. Weinstein and give me her opinion.  Although she hadn't tried the product herself, she did feel it was based on sound principles and could possibly be helpful.  Here is a link to more information: GrindAlert


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By Mali, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/27/10, First Published: 12/09/09