If you have been diagnosed with TMJ disorder, known as TMJ or TMD, your dentist may treat the condition with a dental appliance known as a dental orthotic device or with a nighttime mouth guard. These appliances are worn over the teeth to correct bite problems and relieve TMJ symptoms.
A nighttime mouth guard fits over either the lower or upper front teeth. A mouth guard is a good treatment for a TMJ patient who experiences jaw discomfort and tooth wear from nighttime jaw clenching and tooth grinding. The mouth guard protects the teeth from grinding together and also allows the jaw muscles to relax by preventing clenching.
Another kind of dental appliance, the dental orthotic device, is used to treat TMJ and has to be worn 24 hours a day. The purpose of an orthotic device is to act like a splint and move the jaw into the correct position. The orthotic device is custom made to fit to your teeth. Most often these dental appliances are worn on the lower jaw, covering your lower back teeth and passing around the front teeth.