What is TMJ?
TMJ means Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, also called TMD, which occurs when your temporomandibular joints do not work properly. The reasons for TMJ is complex such as teeth grinding or osteoarthritis in the temporomandibular joints.
A MAD mouthpiece(Manibular Advancement Device) is an oral appliance that is put in your mouth to stop your snoring and let you rest peacefully at night. MAD mouthpieces pull your lower jaw forwards to clean the airway of the throat that is obstructed. MAD mouthpiece is effective for most people who snore, but is not suitable for TMJ sufferers. Wearing a MAD mouthpiece may worsen the TMJ problem. People with TMJ can feel the extreme pain the device causes. Sometime the TMJ pain continues even after they stop using the mouthpiece.
For normal people, the lower jaw is held by the device in a forward position, which removes the obstruction of the airways in the throat and relieve you of snoring. But for people who have TMJ, the moving of the jaw and the shifting of the position of teeth may cause pains in the joints. People who suffer with TMJ may feel the pain occasionally and wearing the mouthpiece will make the TMJ pain worse. TMJ pains are not restricted in the jaw or the joints. Sometimes TMJ sufferers complain about the pain in their faces, teeth, or even in the ears. The pain may be severe to the degree that people suffering with TMJ cannot open their mouth to eat and talk. You must not want to mess around with this debilitating disease. Compared to TMJ pain, snoring is more tolerable. If you suffer from TMJ but want to use a MAD mouthpiece, you should be careful in choosing the right one. I suggest you visit a doctor to diagnose your problem and seek his advice for which anti-snoring device is suitable for you. Dentists are familiar with TMJ patients and they will work out a good solution to deal with the TMJ illness meanwhile stopping your snoring. Remember the pain TMJ brings may accompany you for your whole life. You are definitely not going to make your TMJ getting worse just to quit snoring.
A large percentage of TMJ suffers grind teeth when asleep( teeth grinding is one of the reasons for TMJ). Interestingly, people wearing a MAD mouthpiece often grind their teeth more than before, which makes TMJ even worse. So if you find your teeth or jaw get hurt when wearing the MAD mouthpiece, please stop using it. It may be too late to stop using the MAD device when you feel the server TMJ pain, which is hard to get rid of. If teeth grinding is the only reason for TMJ, you can prevent TMJ from getting worse by quit teeth grinding at night. It is easy to say but hard to do because few people realize they are grinding teeth in sleep, not to mention stop it.
The cost of oral device
To be frank, none of the cheap MAD devices can deal with TMJ well. Once a cheap device causes a flare-up of your TMJ, it will cost you much more to settle it down. The best suggestion is: never use a economical MAD mouthpiece if you suffer from TMJ. Instead you should go to your doctor, ask him to prescribe a device for you that can tame your snoring but won’t make your TMJ worse. The device should be more expensive, but it is very likely the cost can be covered by your medical insurance. Note that OTC MAD mouthpieces are not covered by medical insurance in any form.
Do NOT use a MAD anti-snoring mouthpiece if you are a TMJ sufferer. MAD mouthpieces must move the position of your jaw to achieve its purpose: open the airways that is obstructed up. The TMJ pain will be worsen by the movement of the jaw. Fortunately, there are alternatives you can try that are effective in stopping your snoring including anti-snoring pillows, anti-snoring balls, or anti-snoring nasal strips. If none of these works for you, ask your doctor for help who can work out a better solution for you to control your snoring problem.