The TMJ (temporal mandibular joint) is the “jaw joint” located in front of the opening of your ears, on both your left and right sides. Its function is to help in opening and closing of the mouth. Actions that require opening and closing of the mouth include; chewing, talking, kissing, singing and yawning. These actions are also aided by the muscles and ligaments that attach to the TMJ. If you want to learn more about TMJ, Find out more by reading this article.
There are quite a number of conditions that affect the TMJ. One of the most common conditions is called Bruxism. Bruxism simply refers to grinding or clenching of the teeth. It can occur knowingly or unknowingly. However, it mostly occurs unknowingly and can be attributed to stress. When clenching occurs, the chewing surfaces (occlusal surfaces) of your teeth become worn out, and this can cause pain on your teeth. Apart from that, there is over-activation of the muscles that attach to the TMJ, thereby, causing TMJ pain, which can be severe and often requires intervention by use of the TMJ mouth guard.
The TMJ mouth guard is a dental accessory that relieves the TMJ pain and pressure that is as a result of constant clenching and grinding of teeth. It is made in such a way that it overlays the chewing surfaces of the teeth, so as to limit the contact of your upper and lower teeth. It is made from plastic or acrylic material, and it can be customized in size (and color) in order to ensure a perfect fit.
The TMJ mouth guard functions by absorbing the pressure or shock that would typically be directed onto your teeth. The position of the appliance also helps to loosen the TMJ muscles, thereby causing less stress on the joint and eventually relieving you from the pain. It is typically worn at night, as this is when clenching and grinding are at its maximum.