“Prevention is better than cure” – this statement heavily relates to your oral health. Excluding the well-known and widely practiced preventive dental measures such as brushing, flossing, and keeping your oral cavity clean, mouth guards make extremely effective protective devices that cover your teeth and gums to prevent damage or injury.
You have probably seen mouth guards used in contact sports such as boxing, rugby, and mixed martial arts where the players usually experience a strong impact on their face and jaw that can cause harm. Moreover, your dentist in Calgary may recommend mouth guards for a variety of dental treatments and dental aesthetics which will be discussed below.
What are they used for?
The most popular and common usage of mouth guards is as a preventive measure for dental trauma. Other than contact sports, they can be used in any situation where deliberate or accidental trauma is likely to transpire to the mouth and jaw area. As for making use of mouth guards for oral medicine, they are used as a type of “splints” to reduce strain on teeth in certain joint disorders. Bruxism, or conditions where patients excessively grind teeth or clench their jaws is another instance where mouth guards are used to reduce damage.
Mouth guards are used in plenty of orthodontic practices as well, mostly to correct malocclusions. An orthodontist or a dentist near you may advise mouth guards in combination with special brackets to correct incorrectly aligned teeth and jaws. Custom mouth guards can also be used to whiten teeth when a bleaching agent is applied to them. They are used as simple yet effective protective devices for restorative procedures such as porcelain bridges as well.
How do you know if you need a mouth guard?
Grinding your teeth in your sleep is a very common condition that affects millions of children and adults. However, chronic teeth grinding can lead to long term oral health complications if left ignored. The following are some signs and symptoms that you may experience if your teeth grinding has led to severe bruxism.
• An incessant grinding sound at night as observed by your sleeping partner
• Sore jaw after waking up in the morning
• Tight or painful jaw muscles
• An occasional swollen jaw that may appear out of nowhere
• Chipped teeth without any outside trauma
• Waking up with a headache
If you are experiencing one or more of these signs, it is about time you look into mouth guards near you. Moreover, if you are taking anti-depressants, it is advisable to mention your medication use to your dentist and inquire about the use of a mouth guard. A research conducted in 2012 found that some anti-depressants tend to cause teeth grinding during the night as one of the side effects.
How to properly wear and maintain a mouth guard
There are several types of mouth guards on the market that you can opt for depending on your requirements and budget. Your first step should always be to speak to your dentist regarding mouth guards in Calgary and follow their recommendation on what is best for you. When it comes to any type of mouth guard, the fit is the most important factor. The following are signs of a mouth guard that has a good fit:
• Being able to breathe and speak without discomfort
• Remaining securely in place in a relaxed mouth
• Providing appropriate coverage while being comfortable to wear
Since they go in your mouth, mouth guards should always be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized at all times. Always use warm and soapy water or mouthwash to clean the mouth guard before and after use. Be sure to store it securely in a protective case when not in use.