Friday, May 26, 2017

A note about bite guards...

This seems to be the standard prescription when dentists don't know what else to do for this injury. Bite guards are designed to prevent unintentional teeth grinding and clenching. It's prescribed for people with  TMJ...which lingual nerve injury is NOT. 

That's not to say that some people may have, or develop, TMJ as a result. But certainly not everyone has it, nor does everyone need an expensive, overnight bite guard. Mine cost over $1,100 US! 

To diagnose whether an overnight bite guard is necessary, they should look at the surface of your teeth; this will reveal if you are grinding at night while you sleep. My tooth surface was NOT worn down... but I do notice that I clench, keeping my jaw tight/tense, because of the pain.

One thing a guard may help with is having a smooth surface to press your tongue against when burning is the worst. Beyond that, for me at least, it was just an expensive piece of plastic that ended up in the back of a drawer.

I wish I had that money back hindsight, I would never have bought a bite guard. I share this information to hopefully help others save the money, although I can't be sure everyone will have the same results I did....Has the bite guard helped you? If so, please describe what you use, and how often.

Best, jf :)


  1. Hi Jane, Glad to see you are still posting! but hope that you are not still in a lot of pain. I have actually found bite guards to be quite helpful. The "distraction" from the bite guard is just enough to keep the pain level down quite a bit, so I often wear it during the day, and it cuts down the amount of topical anesthetic I use. I also wear it at night. In the beginning, I did have some bruxism (as evidenced by my teeth) but I think that has gone.

    I use the cheap ones that you can make with kits from the drugstore. Some of these actually work quite well (the ones with a separate tray for forming are my favorite). I have also worked with a company on the internet that can help you make a good quality bite guard for about $150. So I think going that route is something that would be worth investigating for anyone with dental pain issues. I can't stomach paying what the dentist wants for a bite guard.

  2. I came across your blog early last year after having a wisdom teeth extraction. My lingual nerve was damaged during the procedure. The right side of my tongue was dead. I couldn't taste anything on that side and I kept biting it when I ate. I often like to play basketball, but the first time I played after the injury, my tongue would burn and I felt extremely thirsty. My tongue was no longer functioning with saliva so no matter how much water I drank, I felt like I was dying of thirst.

    I started to notice that strong smells such as candles or cleaning supplies would make my tongue "taste" the smell. Very hard to describe and I felt crazy telling my wife how I could taste smell somehow.

    On top of all this, I would randomly feel jolts in my tongue as if licking a battery, and it would just begin to hurt for no reason. I tried using vitamin B12 pills but they didn't seem to help much. After a while, I sort of just got used to it. I think sometime around a year, I was lucky that my tongue went back to mostly normal. If I focus on it, I can still feel that side of my tongue is not 100% but it is certainly no longer an issue I deal with. I am sorry to hear that your injury isn't fully recovered after so many years, but I wanted to thank you for the info I learned from this site the past year.

  3. Hi Jane,

    How have you been? I hope you have been improving slowly but surely. I was wondering if you could do a post about how you are now, compared to 7 years ago? I was injured just a few months before you (Aug 2010) and your blog was (and still is) a great source of comfort and encouragement. I've commented a few times on your blog too (as "M").

    As for me, I think progress stopped 2 years back. The pain is less than the early days but there are days when it flares up and hurts and hurts and hurts :(

    I still visit the dentist every 6 months for checks though. But I'm an emotional wreck every time.

    Hope to see you posting soon,

    1. Hi Carrie,
      Sorry for not posting more often. I don't want to bore everyone. Since my last post, I've been just dealing with life. You are mighty brave visiting the dentist so often; I haven't summoned the courage and strength, because I'm worried I'll set something off and make it worse. Plus I have nagging female issues that are sapping my energy and focus at present.
      But I need to go to the evil dentist monster - it's been years- long overdue. I'm also unemployed, so limited finances are another great excuse. I fall into that category of too broke to live normally and without anxiety, too "rich" to qualify for assistance.
      Wah wah wah, enough about me- How are you?

  4. Hi Jane,

    I’m comsidering laser therapy. Did you find it at all beneficial? There isn’t a provider near me so I’d need to travel. I’d go to the moon if I thought it would help me with this insidious lingual nerve pain. Like you, I’ve tried everything else.



    1. Hi Wendy,
      Laser therapy is still considered experimental at this point, so be prepared to shell out for each visit. Not sure the rate by you, but when I last tried it a few years ago, I was able to negotiate for X visits, because I was like a freak of interest to the practitioner, who was curious and happy to use me as their guinea pig of sorts.

      I remember initially I felt a tinge worse the first 1-2 days following treatment, but over time, once the nerves settled from that stimulation, I do think there was improvement. I would have continued but had to relocate for work, and never found a similar situation once I'd settled in the new city, and I have to wonder how much can it really help after living with this injury for 5+ years, anyway.

      Is it cold laser, and how is it applied?

  5. OMG....Jane, I found your blog while searching for "burning mouth syndrome". I seriously thought I was the only one who suffered from this and that I was going crazy! My problem started almost 2 years ago when I elected to have a dental implant. It was such a long traumatic ordeal. After the implant, I had a nerve like pain in the back of the right side of my tongue. It then turned into a burning sensation and distorted taste. Of course, the dentist said it was not related to the implant. My regular dentist referred me to an oral facial pain place and that was a waste of time. My regular doctor suggest Elavil (sp?), but I have not tried that yet. It has made my life a living hell. NO ONE I know has this so I don't have anyone to talk to. The pain/burning tongue/distorted taste is pretty much constant. I KNOW it is related to the dental work. I paid a lot of hard earned money to have the implant and I am seriously thinking of having the whole thing removed. I wonder if that would help or make a difference at this time?? The implant was the upper right molar tooth. The implant dentist told me that was not related to the nerves to the tongue. Hello.....ALL of this started after the implant so he did something that affected the nerves!! Jane, do you have any thoughts if removing the whole implant would make a difference? Somehow I don't think it would because the damage is done. Amazing, how the implant dentist thinks it's not related to anything he did.

    1. Re: implants, well if it didn't hurt before and it does now, I think you have your answer. Problem is, the damage is likely already done. My upper left molar started all the problems, and I ultimately had it removed, but the pain remained.
      So I can't say whether removing it now will even help, because if the nerve is already injured, removing the implant may have little effect. I did try Elavil at one point. I just couldn't take the side effects, but I am very sensitive to medication (anti-depressants and anti-seizure meds are no bueno for me, but help many people!) Hunting for the right doctor is a chore, but sounds like you are on the right track.

  6. Glad to see you posting. Though your bite guard didn't work well but it doesn't mean that its not a good solution. You can have another bite guard or even the cheaper one available at drug store because nothing is more important than your health and peace of mind. I would suggest you not to be disappointed, be hopeful. God bless you.

    Invisalign Colorado Springs

  7. Hi jane.its 8 months already.still taking bcomplex and low dose of pain reliever.still searching some ways

  8. I have had lingual nerve damage for a month and two days. It feels like my tongue is gong to explode and he tingling and burning is hard to bear. The right side of my tongue feels like it is transforming and jello-ish. Any suggestions on what to do as I don't want the meds to be addicted to them.