Should You Use a Dental Mouthguard for Your Jaw Pain?

Dental pain can keep you up at night and make it almost impossible to do simple tasks. But figuring out what’s causing your jaw pain can be challenging, especially if there aren’t any apparent signs of injury. Unfortunately, dental jaw pain has several potential causes. For example, the culprit behind your aching teeth and jaw could be nightly teeth grinding, but it could also be a sinus infection. Read on to discover whether a dental mouthguard (also called a nightguard) might be an effective solution to your jaw pain!   TMJ  

What Causes Dental Jaw Pain?

Dental jaw pain can be mildly uncomfortable, but it can also be absolutely debilitating. Often, the level of discomfort you experience depends on the cause behind your tooth or jaw pain. Some of the most common causes of a painful jaw include:
  • Gum disease
  • Teeth grinding (Bruxism)
  • Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMD)
  • Sinus infection
Determining the precise cause behind your pain is the first step toward finding a suitable solution.

Gum Disease

Regular dental hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent gum disease. But keeping up with your brushing and flossing habits isn’t always easy, especially when you’re busy with a hectic work schedule and household. As such, gum disease is a common issue facing most adults in the US. Unfortunately, untreated gum disease can lead to painful jaws and teeth. When bacteria build up along the gums, they can begin to eat away at the healthy tissue. After this, they can infiltrate pockets between the gums and the teeth, causing tooth and jaw infections. If your gums are painful or are swollen, be sure to schedule a visit to your dentist right away. Doing so can help prevent long-term consequences of gum disease, including tooth loss.

Bruxism

Do you grind your teeth at night or find yourself clenching your jaw when stressed? If so, you might be suffering from teeth grinding, also called bruxism. Approximately 33% of people experience bruxism during their life. Frustratingly, teeth-grinding typically occurs at night while you’re sleeping. As such, it can be challenging to prevent or treat. If allowed to continue over several months or years, bruxism can lead to TMD. That’s why it’s often best to invest in a dental mouthguard at the first sign of tooth grinding.  

TMD

Untreated bruxism can develop into temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMD). This disorder (also called TMJ) is often caused by jaw overuse or injury. Underlying causes may also include stress or anxiety. For that reason, TMJ treatment options often incorporate a mix of physical solutions (like dental mouthguards) and mental solutions (like meditation).  

Sinus Infection

If your teeth are in excellent shape and there’s no sign of TMD or bruxism, a sinus infection could be to blame for your jaw discomfort. Still, it might seem strange that your sinuses could impact your jaw. But consider this: When your sinuses are packed with phlegm, your face is under constant pressure. This pressure is spread across your facial muscles, many of which are attached to your jaw. As a result, a nasty sinus infection can lead to an achy jaw, headaches, and sore facial muscles.  

Potential Solutions to Jaw Pain

Dental jaw pain could be a sign of a bacterial infection, but it could also indicate teeth grinding or TMD. Consequently, the solutions to jaw pain vary depending on what’s causing the discomfort. That said, some of the most effective treatments for jaw pain include:
  • Dental Treatments
  • Antibiotics
  • Dental Mouth Guards
Let’s discuss these treatments to discover which might be the best option for you!  

Dental Treatments

Many types of jaw pain can disappear after a thorough dental treatment. For example, a rotten tooth could be contributing to a tooth infection that’s causing significant jaw and tooth pain. After a dentist cleans the tooth and surrounding gum tissue, you might experience an immediate reduction in pain. Of course, basic dental services can help you avoid emergency visits and sudden dental pain.  

Antibiotics

If a tooth or sinus infection is to blame for your jaw pain, antibiotics might be the recommended course of treatment. These medications can take a few weeks to wipe out a bacterial infection. Consequently, your physician or dentist may recommend low-dosage pain killers to help you through your recovery period.  

Mouth Guards

Individuals that are diagnosed with TMD or bruxism can benefit from using a mouthguard each night. That’s because night guards protect teeth from scraping and grinding against each other. Over time, nightly mouthguard usage can reduce and eliminate jaw pain. Reducing stress, keeping hydrated, and enjoying a healthy diet may also reduce nightly teeth grinding sessions.  

How to Use a Night Guard

The highest-quality mouthguards are made at your local dentist’s office. These tend to be made of thicker, more resilient materials than those found in pharmacies or department stores. Additionally, when a dentist creates a night guard for you, they ensure that it’s perfectly formed to fit your teeth like a glove. This secure fit reduces slipping and sliding during the night, reducing jaw pain and movement. The best way to use a night guard is to insert it onto your teeth after brushing and before falling asleep. It’s a great idea to avoid eating or drinking anything while wearing a nightly mouthguard. When you wake up, you can soak the mouthguard in a non-alcoholic mouthwash to sanitize it. You can also use antibacterial soap to keep your night guard clean. While store-bought mouthguards might only last a few weeks before falling apart, night guards made at your dentist’s office could last several years. As such, they’re a worthwhile investment for anyone combating jaw pain.  

Enjoy a Brighter and Healthier Smile

If you’re experiencing dental jaw pain or tooth pain, you’ll want to seek immediate emergency dental services to treat the cause of that pain. After all, in some cases, tooth infection or gum disease may be to blame. Of course, if your dental pain stems from bruxism (tooth grinding), the ideal solution might be a night guard. A dental guard can prevent you from grinding your teeth in your sleep, lessening long-term jaw pain. The sooner you address dental pain, the sooner you can find a solution that works for you. So be sure to book a dental consultation today!