If you have temporomandibular joint pain, stiffness, or other problems that act up at night, you might be considering a bite guard. While bite guards do provide a simple way of preventing your teeth from grinding against each other all night, they're not always a good solution for people who have rheumatoid arthritis–related damage to the temporomandibular joint.
Why Standard Options Aren't a Fit
Store-bought bite guards are a great option for people who just want to avoid causing damage to their teeth at night. However, they're not perfect for people with temporomandibular joint damage due to rheumatoid arthritis.
General bite guards are intended for people who have teeth, jaws, and temporomandibular joints that have developed normally. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause significant joint damage, changing the way that your bite works. If you had it while you were growing up, it may have even altered the growth cycle, causing your jaw to be slightly out of alignment in comparison to a healthy person's. As a result, a store-bought bite guard might not fit properly and could put extra strain on your temporomandibular joint disorder.
Reducing Your Tooth Grinding
If all you want to do is keep yourself from grinding your teeth, you should consider taking up meditation. Meditation has been found to be useful in reducing stress, anxiety, and other emotional factors that can trigger or worsen teeth grinding.
Meditation can be done anywhere, anytime, but it might be most useful just before you lie down to go to sleep. Doing so can help to bring down your stress and allow you to sleep through the night with less or no teeth grinding.
Protecting your Teeth
If you want to do more than try and reduce your stress levels, you can instead reach out to a dentist like Labowe Stuart DDS about the possibility of a custom-made bite guard.
In comparison to store-bought guards, custom-made bite guards are based upon a mold of your teeth and jaw. This guarantees that it will fit you and only you, which will prevent any additional pressure from being placed on your teeth, jaw, or temporomandibular joint.
While these molds are custom-made, you can expect them to last a long time, which makes them worth the time and investment.
Taking care of your teeth without worsening the condition of your temporomandibular joint disorder when you've had or have rheumatoid arthritis can be tough, but it isn't impossible. Talk to your dentist and find out if a custom-made bite guard is the right choice for you.
I grew up in a home with parents who did not insist on good dental hygiene. By the time I was old enough to know better, some damage had already been done. I had many cavities, crooked teeth, and some discoloration on my teeth. I knew it would not be easy to take my smile from where it was to where it is today, but I was determined to finally have nice teeth. I visited a dentist who was very nice and never judged me. We made a dental plan together. Spreading the procedures out over time made it much easier to afford them. I now have almost perfect teeth after all that hard work! I created this blog to help others who have dental problems that stem from bad childhood habits know there is hope! It is never too late to start seeing the dentist!