How Mouth Guards Are Important for Protecting Your Teeth
Adults and children who play sports are often advised to wear a mouth guard to protect teeth. Mouth guards are simple, custom-made devices that fit around the teeth to cushion them from falls, blows, and other types of accidents that could damage or break teeth. These appliances are also used to keep patients from damaging teeth when grinding or clenching during any part of the day. Keep your smile healthy and teeth intact by speaking to the dentist today about how a custom guard may be of benefit.
What are the types of mouth guards?
If a patient participates in high-contact sports or other activities where there is a high risk of trauma to the teeth, gums, or lips, it is important to wear a mouth guard to cushion blows and falls so that the teeth do not get broken or chipped. Mouth guards for sports are usually larger and softer and not as closely fitted as those worn for teeth grinding.
Mouth guards worn to prevent bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding, may be similar to those worn in sports activities or may be composed of a harder plastic material. Anti-grinding guards may be referred to as “night” guards but can be worn during any time of the day. Patients have the option of using a “boil and bite” guard, or one that the patient molds to teeth by biting down on it after softening it in hot water. For long-term use, having a custom-fitted guard crafted by a licensed dentist provides better protection and the most comfortable fit.
When should a patient wear a mouth guard?
For active patients who participate in contact sports or activities in which there is a high risk of injury to the teeth or face, mouth guards are as essential as sportswear or team uniforms. Individuals who grind teeth may find it difficult to break the cycle of bruxism and the jaw and facial pain that may result without wearing a guard. Patients should speak to a licensed dentist about being fitted for a guard if they experience any of the following risks:
- Playing high-contact sports such as football, hockey, soccer, or lacrosse
- Participating in activities such as wrestling, boxing, or martial arts, where there is a high risk of injury to the face
- Practicing non-contact activities that include a fall risk such as gymnastics, ice skating, or biking
- Grinding or clenching teeth during the day or at nighttime while asleep
Mouth guards protect patients’ teeth from falls, blows to the facial area, and the constant wear and tear of bruxism. There are many options for these devices that may be tailored to patients’ lifestyles, activity levels, and other factors that may result in the need for teeth protection. Patients who fall into a likely risk category for mouth injury or tooth damage should contact a dentist today to start the conversation about creating a custom mouth guard.
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