TMJ is the temporomandibular joint which acts like a sliding hinge that connects your jawbone to your skull. You have one TMJ on each side of your jaw. Unfortunately, a whole host of things can cause pain in the TMJ, which can cause stress on the jaw joint. Although these problems can be caused by any number of factors, including injury, repetitive motion, genetics, and arthritis, one of the most common contributors is the tendency to grind your teeth during the night (also known as bruxism).
There are many aids that can help with teeth grinding, from surgeries to appliances, but there are also behaviors you can take to help you sleep better.
One of the most painful TMJ problems is sleep, because that’s when you grind your teeth and because that’s when you lay with your jaw not in perfect alignment. When you think about the best ways to sleep with TMJ, some of the most common are supporting your next and head (this may require investment into a new pillow, but the rewards can vastly outweigh the consequences); avoiding positions where you feel next and back strain (this may take some trial and error, but it can be done); determine whether you clench your jaw or grind your teeth while sleeping.
There are a lot of practices that you can take to get better sleep and ease your kaw pain. Some of these include:
TMJ is worse at night because that’s when you’re prone to grind your teeth and clench your jaw. Nighttime clenching is caused primarily by your body trying to keep your airway open, and while you’re asleep your body does the best that it can.
Night guards not only don’t make TMJ worse, they actually make it much better. Night guards can prevent headaches and migraines caused by clenching and grinding. A night guard is a thin, unobtrusive device that is often clear and hardly noticeable to others. It prevents contact between the upper and lower teeth.
TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Raleigh-Durham