Introducing JawGuard

What is it?

JawGuard is a discreet medical device which fits within the ears to stabilise the jaw joint. The device treats symptoms of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) including jaw pain, facial pain, tension headaches, ear pain, eye pain, some neck pain and trismus.

JawGuard is unique in the fact that it has the ability to be actively effective for over 22 hours a day as it can be worn throughout the day and night, a significant advantage over other dental splints which are generally worn for a maximum of eight hours during the night, a major development for treating patients with day time parafunctional habits.

The JawGuard product is a custom made medical device which is created to fit the patient’s ear canal. Impressions of the ear canal are taken in order to ensure that the device is comfortable with a bespoke fit which also allows for the active component of the appliance to be as effective as possible.

How does it work?

In 1998 an audiologist by the name of Lawrence G. Clayton theorised that devices placed within the ear canal would be able to stabilise the jaw joint due to its close anatomical proximity to the joint. The principle was that if you could reduce the strains and stresses in the tissues surrounding the jaw joint, the a reduction in the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) would naturally follow.

Anatomically, the ear canal is intimately associated to tissues surrounding the jaw joint and has insertions with tissues around the articular disc of the jaw joint (TMJ). Because of these connections, when the jaw is opened the ear canal is pulled forward and is approximately 25% bigger than when the jaw closes and the ear canal is compressed. There is a particular zone within the ear canal which is stretched when the jaw opens, and this is the area which the JawGuard appliance therapeutically exploits in order to provide relieving support to the joint.

An open jaw impression is taken and then digitally scanned. Following this, a digital design process takes place and a bespoke appliance is planned to specific dimensions which ensure the active component of the appliance supports the jaw joint as effectively as possible. A sound bore is also fabricated through the appliance which is clinically proven to have little to no effect on the patients ability to hear.

When the appliance is worn, the result is that the head of the condyle is pushed very slightly forwards and downward, the tissues behind the disc of the joint are relaxed and there is more space between the jaw and the skull, meaning critical tissues are not “pinched”, stressed or under tension. This then serves to reduce the pain associated with TMD.

The evidence base

For an overview of the evidence base leading to the development of JawGuard, click the link below to visit our professionals section.