No one likes keeping foreign objects in their mouths for an extended period of time, but even inexpensive mouth guards can be molded into a perfect fit for your teeth so they take up as little space as possible, don’t impede breathing, and protect your teeth all at once!
While most people think of football when they think of mouth guards, there are a few other times when it’s important to wear them and we’ve taken the time to talk about them in this post:
While mouth guards are certainly important in high-contact sports like boxing and football, they should also be worn in any other setting that might pose a threat to your teeth. For example, soccer and lacrosse aren’t normally considered high-contact sports, but if a ball or a stick goes flying, it could easily end up smashing into someone’s face by accident. There’s no point in making a bad situation worse by suffering from a broken jaw and/or missing teeth simply because you weren’t wearing a mouth guard.
The American Dental Association estimates that one third of all dental injuries are sports related, leading to approximately 200,000 injuries every year that could be prevented by the use of a mouth guard. Unfortunately, unlike helmets, shoulder pads, and other protective gear, most sports don’t require the use of a mouth guard in order for their athletes to participate, so you have to be proactive in protecting your own teeth and your children’s teeth.
Bruxism is a condition characterized by grinding the teeth together at night while asleep. Because people do this in their sleep, most of them aren’t even aware they’re doing it – but as dentists, we can see the damage done to the teeth. When people grind their teeth together, the surfaces of the teeth are worn smooth, making them less effective over time. Fortunately, this situation is easily prevented by simply wearing a mouth guard at night.
Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)
TMD is typically characterized by pain in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. There are many things that can cause TMD, including the above-mentioned bruxism, as well as arthritis and stress, which can cause you to clench your teeth and wear down the joint.
Regardless of the cause of TMD, wearing a mouth guard can help alleviate the symptoms by providing a barrier between your upper and lower teeth, which prevents you from clenching your teeth. Not only does this protect the teeth themselves, but because it prevents you from clenching your jaw all the way, it also protects the TMJ by preventing you from exerting too much pressure on the joint.
You can ask your dentist to make an impression and order a mouth guard that perfectly fits your mouth. It’s a great way to make sure you get a sturdy, custom-made mouth guard, but it also tends to be a more expensive way to go. A more cost-effective option that many people choose is to buy a standard night guard at any local convenience store, such as Walgreens, boil it until it’s soft, then bite down on it to fit it your teeth. As it hardens, it will maintain that shape and you’ll have a mouth guard that fits only your mouth.While this option may save you money, most of the time, they are not as comfortable as the guards that your dentist can customize for you.
If you or your kids are thinking about getting into sports, or if you’ve been noticing soreness in your jaw in the morning, make an appointment now so we can diagnose the problem and get you set up with a mouth guard to protect your teeth and jaw.
If you want to keep your teeth healthy and strong, you must take care of them. At Simply Smiles Dentistry, we can show you how to properly care for your teeth. You will have a great smile that lasts a lifetime.
Until next time…Keep on Smiling!