“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 mouthguards 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, our dental specialist near you may recommend mouth guards for various dental treatments and aesthetics, which will be discussed below.
What are they Used For?
The most popular and common use of mouth guards is as a preventive measure for dental trauma. Other than contact sports, they can be used where deliberate or accidental trauma will likely transpire to the mouth and jaw area. As for using 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 many orthodontic practices, mostly to correct malocclusions. Our orthodontist or dentist near you may advise mouth guards in combination with special brackets to correct incorrectly aligned teeth and jaws. Custom mouthguards can also whiten teeth when a bleaching agent is applied. They are also used as simple yet effective protective devices for restorative procedures such as porcelain bridges.
How Do You Know if You Need a Mouthguard?
Grinding your teeth in your sleep is a common condition affecting millions of children and adults. However, if ignored, chronic teeth grinding can lead to long-term oral health complications. The followings are some signs and symptoms you may experience if your teeth grinding has led to severe bruxism.
- A constant 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 mouthguards near you. Moreover, if you are taking anti-depressants, it is advisable to mention your medication use to our dentist and inquire about the use of a mouth guard. 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 mouthguards on the market that you can opt for depending on your requirements and budget. Your first step should always be to speak to our dentist regarding custom mouth guards in Saddle Ridge and follow their recommendation on what is best for you. Regarding any type of mouth guard, fit is the most important factor. The following are signs of a mouthguard 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, mouthguards should always be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. 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.