Rockville Dental Arts


Dental Night Guard

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Dental Night Guard in Aspen Hill, North Bethesda and Rockville Maryland

Why you Should be Wearing a Dental Night Guard?


What is TMJ?candidate for tmj treatment

When it comes to temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), a person wants to take the disorder seriously. It occurs when the temporomandibular joints on both sides of the mouth are in constant motion because the person is grinding one’s teeth at night. These are the joints that connect the jaw to the skull via the muscles of mastication.  Namely the Masseter, Temporalis and the Medial and Lateral Pterygoids.  The muscles can go into spasm and cause TMJ pain.


How is it Different from Bruxism?

It is not the same as bruxism, which just means a person grinds one’s teeth at night. With TMJ, patients will experience pain in this arena and they will find it difficult to move their jaw. They might also suffer from pain around their ears, difficulty closing their mouth and trouble chewing normally.


What are the First Steps in Treatment?

Whether a person suffers from bruxism or TMJ, some of the end results can be the same. The first step in treating both of these conditions is to get a dental night guard made. A custom night guard will help prevent the damage that is being done to the teeth.


Could you Have Prevented this?

You might feel guilty if you are diagnosed with TMJ. And you might also feel a little confused. You might ask yourself- does this mean that you are grinding your teeth at night?

The answer to this question is maybe. Although even if you have bruxism, it might never develop into TMJ. Jaw pain itself might be making you clench your jaw more as well.

Other causes of TMJ are genetics, arthritis, or a jaw injury. It could also be a combination of all of the above factors.


I’ve Heard that I might Need Surgery

It might relieve you to know though that surgery is usually a last resort option. Although surgery can be helpful in alleviating the problem, you can also try other avenues as well. It is important though to do something, because if you have problems also in your neck and upper back, then you can even begin to experience neck pain because of your TMJ.


An Occlusal Splint

An occlusal splint is a special mouth guard that fits in your mouth and shifts it to a more natural positioning. This TMJ splint helps the muscles to relax gently. You will mainly need to wear it when you sleep. The jaw muscles will eventually find a new position that causes a cessation of your pain. Sometimes, however, a patient will need to wear it every night to maintain the healing, even after the muscles have shifted.  Only a properly trained dentist, like Dr. Norkiewicz, can make an occlusal splint.  He amassed over 100 hours in learning about the TMJ and how it interdigitates with the teeth.

This is a custom made device made from a processed acrylic resin. There are several types such as permissive, nonpermissive, hydrostatic, and soft rubber (silicone) splints.


Mouth Guards

These devices can be purchased over the counter. Because they are not custom made, then the night guard cost is lower than the TMJ splint. A dental night guard can work well for some purposes, but when choosing the best night guard for your TMJ, you will want to consult a dentist in Rockville Maryland.

If you find that the over the counter solution is not fitting well, then you might have to get the dentist to take an impression of your teeth and make a custom mold.

When a person has serious problems, then the guard will need to be worn during the day as well as the night time. The dental night guard can be made of hard or soft material. Sometimes the harder night guards are made of a composite of two hard materials.

The main purpose of a custom night guard is to prevent grinding when one sleeps. They will help to protect the teeth from the damage that night time involuntary teeth grinding can cause. This is often an early sign of TMJ.




It is important for a person with concerns to see a specialist like Dr, Norkiewicz. The dentist will be able to assist in any questions that a person has about their teeth. Dr. Norkiewicz might be able to see if there is bruxism from the condition of the teeth. Additionally, he might be able to notice clicking of the jaw when performing the services.

It is vital to address concerns with a health care professional so that your TMJ problem does not get worse. Catching TMJ on time can help to prevent a host of future health complications.  Contact us to make an appointment. or call us at 301-424-2030.

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