Treatment Experiences: Mouthguards
I am not a teeth grinder, but I am most certainly a teeth clincher. I sometimes wake from sleep with a jaw so tight it pops audibly when I try to open my mouth. It’s rare these days, but sometimes during episodes of extreme stress my teeth themselves have been in slight pain from the friction caused by the top and bottom rows mashing together while I concentrate on work or, more frequently, sleep fitfully.
I’m not the only migraineur out there with a TMD (temporomandibular disorder)—I’m sure many of you reading this deal with TMD/TMJ as well. I’ve blogged about this before and have heard from several of you that you have suffered the same ailment. I haven’t actively tried to treat it in years, though I used to. I’ve had the strange experience of having my most trusted massage therapist don rubber gloves and reach into my mouth to massage my cheek and manipulate my jaw slightly to relieve some of the tension. (It was a little weird but I felt like a million bucks afterward—at least until the next morning after I woke from another teeth-clenching night.)
A dentist recommended a mouth guard, but the cost was prohibitively expensive. When he left the room, the dental hygienist told me that many of their patients actually got one of the higher-end mouth guards used by athletes. So I tried it.
I bought my mouth guard at a sports store and followed the instructions to make it fit my mouth as snugly as possible. This involved dropping it in boiling water for x number of seconds, pulling it out to let it cool, and then putting it back in my mouth and shutting my jaw so that the mold would form.
For awhile, I wore the thing nightly. I noticed a decrease in TMJ pain but not a decrease in the number of frequency of my migraines. Like most treatments and things I treat as fads, I eventually gave up on it and it’s in the bathroom cabinet alongside the other now-dismissed treatment options I may one day pick up again.
Have any of you been diagnosed with TMD/TMJ? How does it affect your migraine cycles? And have you tried using a mouth guard as I did?
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?