Select Page

How to Pick the Best Pillows for Jaw Clenching and TMJ

Nov 4, 2022

woman in gray tank top lying on bed | How to Pick the Best Pillows for Jaw Clenching and TMJ | Featured

The best pillow for jaw clenching will take the pressure off the area between your ear and jaw and keep your jaw relaxed at night.

RELATED: Learn How To Sleep Peacefully Even With Shoulder Pain

Guide to Choosing the Best Pillow to Relieve Pain from Jaw Clenching and TMJ

How Can a Pillow Help with Jaw Clenching?

woman hugging white pillow beside glass door | best pillow for jaw clenching

The purpose of a pain relief pillow is to position your head so that it evenly distributes your weight, alleviating pressure along your pain areas.

Studies show that muscle tenderness along your shoulder and neck area may be related to a high level of jaw dysfunction. And troubles with your neck may be correlated to concerns with your jaws.

When your neck bends or cranes, it may cause your jaws to misalign, which leads to jaw clenching or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.

Your pillow can provide a better sleeping environment that can improve your sleep quality and encourage a position that may alleviate jaw clenching.

How to Find the Best Pillow for Jaw Clenching and TMJ

1. Prioritize Finding the Right Material

person lying on white bed | best pillow for jaw clenching

When choosing the best pillow for your jaw clenching or TMJ pain, narrow your list down to the pillows with the right material.

  • Memory foam is known for how well it adapts to and cradles your muscles and joints. They finely absorb pressure points and help support the alignment of your spine from the shoulder to neck. This means it can help prop up your jaw and evenly distribute the pressure as you shift to your side.
  • High-density polyurethane foam is firm without sacrificing any comfort. Its durable and dense material makes it ideal for side sleepers that need a bit of loft.
  • Gel pillows are great for sleepers that tend to run warm at night. These pillows typically have temperature-regulating systems that keep them cool throughout the night.

And if you’re allergy-prone or sensitive, ensure these pillows are wrapped in hypoallergenic and skin-friendly materials.

Look for pillows that can retain their shape. You may even find a pillow that allows you to mold it to better suit you mechanically.

Avoid down pillows as these flatten over time and tend to become misshapen.

Don’t Focus on the Price

This holds true for both premium options and their more affordable counterparts.

More expensive isn’t necessarily better—not if it doesn’t carry the features you need to relieve your TMJ troubles. And a flat or lumpy pillow can worsen jaw pain.

By robbing you of pressure relief and joint support, you might wake up with more than just jaw pain in the morning. And a cheap pillow may flatten within 40 winks or less.

Narrow down your list to pillow that suits your needs, and then decide if it’s worth the price.

Finding the perfect budget pillow can take some trial and error. But the process may cost you more than if you had invested in the right pillow in the first place.

RELATED: Do Pillows Expire? How Can You Tell If You Need A New Set

2. Measure the Loft of Your Pillow

white pillows on a bed | memory foam pillow

Pillow loft is crucial in providing proper neck support and spinal alignment.

If you switch between back and side sleeping, choose a pillow to support you in either posture. It should be low enough that it doesn’t tilt your head inward when you sleep on your back. Likewise, it should be high enough to keep your spine aligned when you shift to your side.

3. The Shape of Your Pillow Should Support Both Your Neck and Jaw

baby in white long sleeve shirt lying on bed | pain relief pillow

Explore the many shapes pain relief pillows come in.

Others specifically contour the neck and help improve your sleeping posture. Cervical pillows are great at steering your angle in the right direction, cradling your neck and giving you a lot of support.

Some pillow shapes compel your mouth to open slightly. With your tongue resting on your teeth and your jaw relaxed, it might help reduce jaw clenching and teeth grinding.

Pain relief pillows come in many shapes and cater to many sleeping preferences. Take the time to get to know the pillow shapes available in the market and how they might be able to help you.

4. Hands Off

young woman sleeping on white bed | jaw clenching

Do you usually rest your face on your hands? That habit might make your TMJ worse.

Laying on your palm may misalign your jaw and neck, which could spell a lot of pain in the morning.

Some pillows come with slots and grooves where you can slip your hands in. They stay close to your face but away from your pain areas so that the position still feels natural.

5. Stick To One Good Pillow

woman in white dress lying on bed | pain relief pillow

Some may be tempted to configure multiple pillows to come up with one TMJ pillow. However, note that a tower of pillows can easily be toppled overnight. The goal is to find one pillow that guides you to the proper sleeping posture and evenly distributes the pressure along your jaws.

Understanding TMJ Pillows

white pillows on bed | pillows

TMJ pillows can work hand in hand with stress management techniques, massages, and mouth guards to relieve your symptoms.

Jaw clenching and TMJ disorders are still a mystery to scientists today. Until we figure out what causes them, they’re difficult to diagnose. And therefore, they’re also tricky to treat.

This leads experts to advise patients to avoid procedures that permanently change their teeth or jaws. While some doctors have proposed changing the shape of your teeth to improve your bite, most dentists disagree.

TMJ-dedicated paint relief pillows offer a cozy and safe solution for sufferers.

Choose a pillow that keeps your neck and jaws aligned and relaxed. Bonus features include pillows that have slots for you to slip your hands in and those that have temperature control systems.

Where sleep and chronic pain are concerned, we believe orthopedic pillows are worth every penny.

What feature do you think makes the best pillow for jaw clenching? Do you already have the perfect pillow? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.