What is a TMJ mouth guard and how do I use it and maintain it?

Upon evaluating the patient, the dentist may recommend a mouth guard to alleviate pain
and discomfort in the temporomandibular joint. A mouth guard, also referred to as a stabilization
splint or bite guard, is a custom-made plastic appliance that fits over the lower or upper teeth. A
mouth guard is a conservative treatment prescribed for TMJ, and it is often preferable to more
invasive surgical intervention in cases where the risks of surgery outweigh the possible benefits.
For patients suffering from TMJ disorders, customized mouth guards should only be used under
the guidance and continued supervision of a dental professional.
Mouth guards prevent a patient from grinding his/her teeth while sleeping, lowering the
likelihood tooth wear, enamel erosion, and morning jaw pain resulting from teeth grinding. A
mouth guard should not cause permanent changes in the bite or neuromuscular occlusion.

However, if a patient feels increased pain or adverse changes in their bite and articulation of the
top and bottom teeth, they should cease to use the mouth guard and explore alternative
treatments with Dr. Federman.
Mouth guards should be rinsed with water every day and cleaned with a soft tooth brush
and non-abrasive toothpaste. The appliance can be immersed in lukewarm water for a period of
about 15 minutes along with a denture cleaning tablet every few days to comprehensively clear
all staining. Failure to clean and maintain a mouth guard can lead to staining and the
accumulation of bacteria, so proper maintenance is imperative.
If you believe that a mouth guard will help alleviate your TMJ symptoms, please contact
Cranio Associates. After an examination and evaluation by the doctor, Dr. Federman’s staff will
take an impression of the patient’s mouth and create a mold of their teeth. With this mold, a
highly durable plastic will be fitted and shaped around the mold using specialized dental
equipment. After the mouth guard is made, it is trimmed and sanded down to fit comfortably in a
patient’s mouth and fitted inside the patient. The dentist can make further adjustments to ensure
optimal fit and comfort.