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Care and Maintenance Tips for Your TMJ Night Guard

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a complex problem that requires the attention of a highly trained family dentist. This condition is closely associated with bruxism, or teeth grinding, which usually occurs at night while the patient is asleep. If you have persistent jaw pain, ear pain, headaches, and difficulty chewing or opening your mouth, it’s time to visit a family dentist to discuss your TMJ treatment options in Alpharetta. Dentists often recommend the use of a custom-fitted night guard to protect the teeth from nighttime grinding. tmj - nightguard

Inserting and Removing

Proper care of your TMJ night guard begins with its insertion. Avoid manipulating the night guard into place by biting it. Instead, wash your hands thoroughly before picking up the night guard and inserting it carefully into place. Apply pressure with your fingers to both sides of the teeth. In the morning, remove the night guard with your fingers by gently prying it away the teeth. Remember that for your TMJ treatment plan to work effectively, you should wear your night guard every night. Otherwise, you risk chipping and cracking your teeth from nighttime grinding.

Cleaning

It’s essential to clean your night guard thoroughly after each use. Rinse it in lukewarm water only, as hot water can warp the material. Then, gently scrub the night guard with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a cleaning product recommended by your family dentist. Some dentists recommend using toothpaste, but only if it’s a non-abrasive type of toothpaste. Others recommend regular liquid soap or denture cleanser. The type of product you use can depend on the brand of night guard you wear. After cleaning your night guard, rinse it thoroughly and set it on a clean towel to dry.

Storing

Wait until the night guard is completely dry before storing it, as storing it while it’s still wet will encourage bacterial growth. Keep your night guard in its case and place the case on your nightstand or dresser. It’s advisable to store it out of the bathroom to prevent hot steam from gradually warping the material. Every few days, wash the case with detergent.

Inspecting and Replacing

Bring your night guard to your regular dental visit to allow your family dentist to inspect it. Also, check it for signs of damage before each use and schedule an additional appointment if need be. Even if you take excellent care of your night guard, it will eventually require replacement.