Mouth Splint Slows Attacks

I had been months with unrelenting TN pain. I believe my pain was exacerbated by 3 root canals that further damaged and irritated an already unhappy trigeminal nerve, and every time I closed my mouth, the top and bottom teeth would touch each other, and start my pain all over again. I went to a dentist in Mexico, Dr. Alejandra Novoa Carus in Cozumel, who said that she felt I was grinding my teeth at night, and that I had TMJ. She didn’t think that TMJ was causing all of my pain, but rather that it was triggering my TN by irritating an already excited nerve in my jaw.

She made a mold of my mouth/teeth, and created a simple plastic mouth guard/splint. I put it in, and waited. Instead of the normal attack I was expecting that day, nothing ever came… I was pain free. The next day, I did have another attack, and went to see her. She prescribed a medication called Tramadol/Ketorolac, which is sold under the brand names “Sinergix” or “Mavidol” as a sublingual tablet. I put the pill under my tongue, and waited 15 min. At that point, it was a little better, so I took one more. By the end of the next 15 minutes I was pain free again.

Since my trip to Mexico, I know that:

  1. the mouth guard is really important for me. Sleeping without it will cause an attack every time
  2. when I do have break through pain, Tramadol/Ketorolac sublingual will kick its butt

I now believe that the mouth guard removes some of the triggers of my TN by protecting the teeth that had the dental work, and distributing the load on my teeth evenly. I started out wearing it 24/7, but some of the rigid qualities of the mouth guard were irritating me when I would talk. It also irritated my teeth, but not enough to cause an episode. After 3 weeks, I had chewed up all 4 of the mouth guards Dr. Alejandra gave me. I had also taken all of the Sinergix. But I felt so much better, I was actually able to go back to work.

I decided to see what it would cost to have a dentist here in the US make the mouth guard for me… $800!!! The dentist in Mexico charges me $40 for the same thing!

I went on Amazon and ordered 3 different types of mouth guards. One was too thick, one was completely the wrong style to be worn on my lower jaw, but one was just right. It’s a little spongier than the rigid dental plastic that the dentist gave me, but it is a lot less irritating to the rest of my mouth and tongue. The one that works best for me is by Nateurlabs and it’s a BPA free “anti-snoring mouth guard”. It is just the right thickness, and just thin enough to be comfortable in my mouth all night.

If anyone had told me a little piece of plastic on my lower teeth would calm down my TN, I would have called them crazy. I literally counted the hours I was pain free at first. Frankly, I don’t care how or why it works, just that I now have a day here and there where I have blessed relief from pain!

Hi Bonnie,

Thank you for sharing your story. I am happy for you that you've found something that brings you relief. And relief is what we want!

May I ask what kind of TN you have? TN1 or the atypical TN2? Also I tried searching the internet for "Nateurlabs and it's a BPA free "anti-snoring mouth guard" " but can't find it...

Thanks again and be painfree,


Update: do not purchase any mouth guards that have a soft or squishy feel. They cause more jaw clenching, and can make your pain worse. I currently make my own mouth splints. I bought the supplies to mold my own mouth, a vacuum former, and 1.0mm dental splint sheets. It has taken some time to get them just right, but after a few weeks of watching the process on YouTube, and trying different ideas, my husband and I have it down to a science. I showed my latest dental splint to the dentist today, and he was very impressed.

That said, we believe the splint shields my trigger zone/teeth enough to stop a lot of the attacks. I have atypical TN with intense burning pain interlaced with severe electrical attacks for 40-60 minutes at a time, followed by generalized burning that lasts up to a day. I had been having the attacks at least 4-5 times a week, but most of them didn’t get all the way to a full attack, and stop short if I 1) rinse my mouth with hydrogen peroxide, and 2) put in the splint right away (lower jaw only).

All of a sudden this week, the attacks decided to ramp up again. They are coming every day, progressively earlier and earlier in the day. The pain is so severe I am getting suicidal about it. I just don’t see how I can stand another attack. I almost went to the ER today, but I couldn’t get myself to want to sit in that environment for 2 hours only to have them say they can’t do anything to help me anyways.

I am going to beg Dr. Johnston to set up the gamma knife surgery to see if we can slow the attacks down. Has anyone had this for atypical TN like mine?

I am going to UCLA again tomorrow to see what can be done surgically.

Bonnie what ended up happening?