Mouth Guards Pasadena TX
Mouth guards are customized devices worn over the teeth to protect them from injury. Unlike dental splints, which are orthodontic devices used to treat conditions such as teeth-grinding (bruxism), snoring or sleep apnea, mouth guards are used primarily to protect the teeth and braces during athletic or recreational activities. Effective mouth guards should be comfortable, durable, easy to clean, and allow the wearer to breathe and speak normally.
Reasons For Mouth Guards
Any individual, child or adult, who engages in contact sports, such as football, hockey, boxing or lacrosse, or participates in any activity in which the mouth is vulnerable to injury, such as bicycling or skateboarding, is advised to wear a mouth guard.
The reason for wearing a mouth guard during such activities is to diminish the risk to the teeth, tongue, jaw, gums, and nerves of the area. Without a mouth guard, anyone who is physically active runs increased risk of chipping, breaking or losing a tooth, injuring the soft tissue of the mouth, and damaging or even fracturing the jaw.
Mouth guards are especially helpful in protecting dental or orthodontic appliances. Braces and fixed bridge work can be damaged during sports encounters and require expensive repair or replacement. Even worse, a setback in treatment can occur as injuries heal and equipment is repaired or refitted. Although it may seem contradictory, patients are advised to remove orthodontic retainers or headgear during sports.
Benefits Of Custom-Made Mouth Guards
While over-the-counter mouth guards are available, they are no substitute for individually designed, custom-made mouth guards manufactured in a dental office or professional laboratory. Personalized mouth guards, produced to protect the patient’s particular bite, though more expensive than those that are mass-produced, are well worth the extra cost. Because they fit the patient precisely, they leave less room for damage to teeth or hardware, and provide greater patient comfort. Also, because they have been specially prepared for the individual, they are unobtrusive during speech and never interfere with normal breathing.
Construction Of Mouth Guards
There are several steps involved in the manufacture of a custom-made mouth guard. First, the dentist uses a malleable material to make an impression of the patient’s teeth. Then a mouth guard is molded over the impression. In most cases, mouth guards cover only the upper teeth, but, when necessary, particularly when the patient wears braces or other dental appliances on the lower jaw, a mouth guard will be fashioned for the lower teeth as well.
Caring For Mouth Guards
Mouth guards, like other dental equipment, should be cared for properly to increase their longevity. Patients should always rinse their mouth guards with mouthwash or cold water and clean them with a toothbrush and toothpaste before and after each use. The devices should also be washed on occasion in cool soapy water, rinsed and dried thoroughly. Mouth guards should be stored in containers with air holes to permit circulation and should be kept away from heat. The mouth guard should periodically be examined for wear and should be brought to all regular dental visits so that it can be evaluated to see if replacement is necessary.
How Often Should I Replace My Mouth Guard?
The right mouthguard can protect your teeth and jaw provided that it fits well. Because most of the mouth guards that are worn for sports are in use several hours a week, there is a high likelihood that they will wear out over time. This may occur faster than you anticipate, especially if the guard is chewed on when not in play. As a general rule of thumb, mouth guards should be replaced every six months. If the guard is showing signs of wear from chewing or simply from regular use, which appears as thinning, come see us. If you or your child have worn a mouth guard for a season, come see us. According to research, the efficacy of a mouth guard declines when thickness is lost. This is because the thickness and fit of the piece are what provide protection in the first place.
Regardless of timing, if a mouth guard becomes frayed or deformed, it should be replaced. Fraying and deformity are most commonly a result of chewing on the mouth guard. Deformity may also occur as a result of wedging the mouth guard into a facemask. We mention these details to help you avoid unnecessary mistakes in handling your mouth guard.
Generally, a mouth guard should last six months. If you or your child has had dental work done that may potentially adjust bite, a new mouth guard may need to be made. The mouth guard should fit perfectly, not too loose or too tight. If fit changes, the safest bet is to have a new custom mouth guard made.
Can Mouth Guards Prevent Concussion?
Research is inconclusive about the merit of a mouth guard in the prevention of concussions. What studies do indicate is that a custom-made mouth guard could decrease the impact of a hit to the face or head. This happens via the thickness of the mouthguard keeping the impact on the jaw from spreading to the skull. More directly, the purpose of a custom-made mouth guard is to decrease or prevent trauma to the jaw, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and the teeth.
Do I Need to Wear a Mouth Guard on Both My Top and Bottom Teeth?
Normally, mouth guards are made to fit over the top teeth only. The exception is if you wear braces or have other factors that warrant top and bottom guards. When you consult with Dr. Covell, he will carefully examine your teeth to determine what is in your best interest.
At What Age Should My Child Start Wearing a Mouth Guard for Sports?
If your child plays contact sports or engages in activities that could result in falls, such as skating or skateboarding, they can benefit from a mouth guard designed for their dentition. Kids aren’t always keen on wearing protective gear. This is especially so when that gear is uncomfortable. This is why it is advantageous to see a dentist for a custom-fit mouth guard. Not only does a customized appliance fit perfectly and much more comfortably, but you may have options that are more appealing to your child, such as their selection of color or fun design. You might also incentivize wearing appropriate protective gear by explaining its merit and also making prizes available for consistent wear.
Are Mouth Guards Painful or Uncomfortable?
There are three different types of mouth guards, stock mouth guards, boil-and-bite guards, and custom mouth guards. Stock mouthguards are often the most uncomfortable because they lack any degree of customization. Boil-and-bite mouth guards are an inexpensive alternative to custom-made mouth guards, but also lack accuracy in terms of fit. As a result, they, too, can be uncomfortable. The most comfortable and effective mouth guard is one that is made from a model of your teeth.