Mouth guards are important, though often overlooked, piece of equipment for oral health. Whether you participate in sports or suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding), mouth guards can be very useful for protecting the teeth, cheeks, tongue, and jaw from injury. At Whitaker Family Dentistry, we create custom-fitted mouth guards to provide the highest level of protection and comfort for the patients of Fort Valley.
What is a Mouth Guard?
Mouth guards are pieces of soft plastic or laminate that are worn in the mouth to keep the teeth and gums protected. They prevent the upper and lower jaws from rubbing together and absorb impact from outside the mouth.
Injuries such as chipped or broken teeth, fractured crowns and bridgework, lip and cheek injuries, fractured jaws, concussions, and root damage can all occur during sports activities and, according to the American Dental Association, makeup approximately one-third of all dental injuries. Fortunately, they are preventable or can have damage minimized by wearing a mouth guard. Sports such as football, boxing, and other collision and contact sports have a higher risk of oral injuries, so wearing a mouth guard for those activities is highly recommended. However, even non-contact sports such as gymnastics and skating present a threat of oral injury, so wearing a mouth guard is also advisable.
Teeth grinding can be more than just an annoyance – it can lead to serious consequences for the teeth if it isn’t addressed. Tooth fractures, loosening and wearing down of teeth, and even tooth loss can result from ongoing teeth grinding. The jaw can also become affected by the repeated grinding motion that takes place at night, potentially leading to a change in facial appearance. Common complaints related to teeth grinding also include headaches and jaw pain. One simple and commonly recommended solution for teeth grinding is to wear a night guard. This device keeps the surfaces of the teeth from grinding together, preventing damage to the teeth as well as relieving strain on the jaw muscles.
Though mouth guards can be found at pharmacies and stores over-the-counter (stock mouth guards and boil-and-bite) at a lower cost, the most effective option will be from your dentist at Whitaker Family Dentistry. They are more comfortable and, because they fit better, will provide more protection for athletes and other patients in Fort Valley.