Mouth guards aren’t just for athletes. These dental devices can address many different health issues in both children and adults, ranging from teeth grinding to sleep apnea relief. Made of plastic, a mouth guard fits over the teeth of your upper jaw and protects your teeth, tongue, gums, and cheeks from trauma.
Various types of mouth guards are available on the market today, including custom-fitted ones that are comfortable and effective. Dental mouth guards are available at Rohan S. Toor, DDS. Call us at (805) 639-3050 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.
The Right Candidate for a Mouth Guard
Dental mouth guards are appropriate for both children and adults and can keep teeth protected from various risks. The American Dental Association recommends custom-fitted mouth protectors during any activity that might pose a risk of injury to the mouth. Many people also suffer from teeth clenching and grinding, especially at night. This leads to excessive wear and tear on the teeth, jaw pain, and severe headaches. A mouth guard covers the top teeth and separates them from the bottom teeth to prevent grinding and alleviate muscle tension caused by clenching.
People who have braces or other fixed dental appliances can also use mouth guards. Typically a mouth guard covers just the upper teeth, but patients can also receive one for braces on the lower teeth. A mouth guard remains especially important for anyone who has braces and participates in sports. Due to the metal brackets and braces, a hit to the face can lead to a significant injury to the mouth’s soft tissues.
“Dental mouth guards are appropriate for both children and adults and can keep teeth protected from a variety of risks.”
Creating a Custom Mouth Guard
The ideal mouth guard should be fitted to the patient’s mouth, stay in place comfortably and securely, and be relatively easy to clean. Custom-fitted mouth protectors are more durable and personalized to address the patient’s specific needs. When properly taken care of, they can last for years.
The creation of a dental mouth guard usually involves two appointments. We will take an impression of the patient’s teeth during the first appointment and make a model to create a personalized mouth guard. After creating the mouth guard, we will make sure that it fits properly during the second appointment. Our team will file down any rough edges and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that the device is comfortable.
“Custom-fitted mouth protectors are more durable and personalized to address the patient’s specific needs.”
When To Wear a Mouth Guard
Patients with night mouth guards should wear them every night. Like anything new, it may take a few days to get used to sleeping with it in place. As long as the mouth guard is comfortable and fits well, it should not take long to adjust. Patients must dedicate themselves to wearing their mouth guard consistently to experience its health benefits. Sporadic use will make the adjustment period harder and will be counterproductive to correcting the health problem.
Patients with dental mouth guards designed for wear during physical activity should wear them every time they participate in an activity that puts them at risk for injury to their mouth or teeth. Often, athletes take out their mouth guards and chew on them, which can cause them to break down or deform. Patients should follow all care instructions to keep them from wearing out prematurely.
“Patients must dedicate themselves to wearing their mouth guard consistently to experience its health benefits.”
A Treatment for Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Patients who snore or have mild to moderate sleep apnea may benefit from a dental mouth guard. During sleep apnea, a person temporarily stops breathing while asleep. This condition increases the risk of heart disease and stroke and can also cause excessive snoring.
A mouth guard for sleep apnea does not cover the teeth but instead pushes the lower jaw and tongue forward, keeping the airway open. This dental device can improve sleep quality and reduce the frequency and loudness of snoring. Mouth guards designed just to reduce snoring tend to work similarly to mouth guards for sleep apnea.
“A mouth guard for sleep apnea does not cover the teeth but instead pushes the lower jaw and tongue forward, keeping the airway open.”
Protecting the Mouth During Sports
Accidents can happen during any physical activity. A custom-fitted mouth guard designed for athletics will protect the soft tissues of the mouth and lips. It can also prevent significant tooth damage or even tooth loss. Any athlete can benefit from wearing a mouth guard, but it is especially helpful for anyone who plays a contact sport. The flexible plastic material absorbs the force of any hits to the face or teeth.
A mouth guard remains just as important as any other piece of athletic equipment. An athletic mouth guard is slightly thicker than ones designed for night use and may cause the upper lip to protrude slightly. For the most part, a dental mouth guard used for sports is very difficult to see by spectators. Our team will help identify the appropriate mouth guard for each patient’s needs.
Learn more about night guard.
“Any athlete can benefit from wearing a mouth guard, but it is especially helpful for anyone who plays a contact sport.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Do I need a mouth guard?
A. A mouth guard can help alleviate many health issues, including grinding of the teeth at night and mild sleep apnea. People should also use a mouth guard during any physical activity where an injury to the mouth may occur. Our team can determine whether a patient needs a mouth guard during a consultation.
Q. How do I get a dental mouth guard?
A. A custom-fitted mouth guard requires a visit to our office. Once we determine that someone is a good candidate, we can begin creating the device. The cost will vary, so people interested in getting a mouth guard should contact their insurance provider before seeking services.
Q. When should my custom-fitted mouth protector be replaced?
A. Some mouth guards will last for years, while others show wear and tear much sooner. It is helpful to bring it to each dental checkup to have it examined for cracks or damage. Children will need their mouth guard replaced more frequently to address changes with their teeth.
Q. How do I clean my mouth guard?
A. Clean and dry your dental mouth guard after every use to prevent bacteria from growing. Once people remove their mouth guard, rinse it under cold water and brush it with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Keep it in its own ventilated box, and make sure to keep it away from any heat source.
Q. Will it fall out at night?
A. A custom-fitted mouth protector will not fall out at night. The fit will be tight over teeth since it has been made specifically to a mold of the patient’s teeth. Once they have adjusted to wearing it, it should be barely noticeable.
Q. I have braces. Can I wear a mouth guard?
A. People who wear braces or have fixed dental work can receive specially made mouth guards. Although some mouth guards only cover the upper teeth, we may suggest using one on the lower teeth if braces are present. A mouth guard will provide an important barrier between the braces and the soft tissues of the gums and cheeks.
Family Dental Terminology
- Custom Impression
- Custom impression involves using trays to create an exact replica of the patient’s teeth before creating the necessary restoration to enhance the overall experience.
- Injection-Molded Mouthguards
- Injection-Molded Mouthguards help to create a much more specific fit with a type of molding material that fills available space instead of requiring a patient to boil the mouthguard in hot water.
- Mandible Fracture
- A mandible fracture is a fracture in the lower jaw that breaks through the mandibular bone and is normally a result of trauma.
- Occlusion describes the mandibular and maxillary rows of teeth meeting when the patient bites down. If a patient does not have a healthy bite, they are struggling with malocclusion.
Learn More About Mouth Guards
Mouth guards can protect the mouth and teeth during various activities, from sports to sleeping. Our team at Rohan S. Toor, DDS can determine whether you are a good candidate for a mouth guard. Call us at 805-639-3050 for more information about our services or schedule an appointment.