Lawrence M. Spindel, DDS Night Guards
Night Guard Therapy
by Lawrence M. Spindel, DDS, Monday, March 26, 2007, 10:52 AM
Patients often complain about soreness in their jaws on opening or closing. Also when examined , these patients often have jaws that deviate to the right or left on opening. This usually indicates a condition involving chronic or acute inflammation of the patient’s masseter muscles, which play a major role in opening and closing the mouth. Permanent or temporary changes can also be experienced in the function of the tempromandibular joint capsule itself, as well. Some patients experience a restricted capacity to open their mouths.
Often this condition can be made worse by patients clenching their teeth (thus flexing the already inflammed masseter muscles) or night grinding . Conservative treatment often focuses on the fabrication mouthguards which when worn make it difficult to clench the teeth together and thus make it more likely that the jaw muscles will be more relaxed. There are many designs for night guards and it’s best for the patient to be involved with selecting one that he or she will be willing to wear.
Also it’s important for the patient to realize that at least in part this syndrome is an over use conditon and therapy involves allowing the muscles to rest, to relieve spasms. Also, exercises can be prescribed if needed to help with improving a patient’s range of opening.