Mouth Guards

Mouth Guards

Mouth guards, also known as mouth protectors, are devices worn over the teeth to protect them from injury. They are commonly used during sports activities to prevent dental trauma but are also crucial for individuals who grind their teeth (bruxism) or those undergoing orthodontic treatment.

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Types of Mouth Guards

There are three primary types of mouth guards:

Stock Mouth Guards

These are preformed and ready to wear. They are the most inexpensive option but often do not fit well and can be bulky, making breathing and talking difficult.

Boil-and-Bite Mouth Guards

Made from thermoplastic material, these mouth guards can be softened in hot water and then molded around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure. They fit better than stock mouth guards and are widely available at sporting goods stores.

Custom-Fitted Mouth Guards

These are tailored specifically for the individual by our orthodontist at Orthodontic Nations. An impression of the teeth is taken, and the mouth guard is fabricated based on this mold. Custom-fitted mouth guards provide the best fit, comfort, and protection, but are also the most expensive option.

The Importance of Mouth Guards

Mouth guards play a crucial role in dental health by providing a barrier that cushions the teeth, gums, and jawbone. They help in:

Preventing Tooth Damage

Mouth guards absorb and distribute the force of impacts, reducing the risk of chipped, broken, or knocked-out teeth.

Protecting Soft Tissues

They shield the lips, cheeks, and tongue from cuts and bruises.

Minimizing Jaw Injuries

Mouth guards help to prevent fractures and dislocations by stabilizing the jaw.

Reducing the Risk of Concussions

By absorbing shock, mouth guards can decrease the likelihood of concussions during high-impact sports.

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Mouth Guards During Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic mouth guards are specifically designed by our orthodontist at Orthodontic Nations to accommodate braces and other appliances. They are typically made from softer materials to allow for changes in the alignment of teeth. Custom-fitted orthodontic mouth guards provide the best protection and comfort, but boil-and-bite options are also available. Mouth guards designed for orthodontic patients are essential for:

  • Preventing Damage to Braces

A mouth guard can protect brackets and wires from damage during impact.

  • Avoiding Soft Tissue Injuries

Braces can cause cuts and abrasions to the lips and cheeks. A mouth guard acts as a buffer, reducing the risk of injury.

  • Ensuring Treatment Progress

Protecting your orthodontic appliances ensures that your treatment stays on track and avoids costly repairs.

Mouth Guards for Athletes

Athletes, particularly those involved in contact sports such as football, hockey, boxing, and basketball, are at a higher risk for dental injuries. Even noncontact sports like gymnastics and skateboarding can pose a threat to dental health. An athletic mouth guard is essential for:

  • Preventing Dental Trauma

Impact on the mouth can cause serious damage, including tooth fractures and avulsions (complete tooth loss). Mouth guards help prevent such injuries.

  • Enhancing Performance

A well-fitted mouth guard allows athletes to breathe and communicate effectively, which can enhance overall performance.

  • Complying With Safety Standards

Many sports organizations mandate the use of mouth guards to ensure player safety.

Mouth Guards for Bruxism

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a condition characterized by the involuntary clenching or grinding of teeth, typically during sleep. This can lead to various dental problems, including:

  • Tooth wear and damage
  • Jaw pain and TMJ disorders
  • Headaches and earaches

The Role of Night Guards in Managing Bruxism

Night guards, also known as occlusal guards, are specifically designed to protect against bruxism. They work by:

  • Creating a Barrier

Night guards prevent the upper and lower teeth from coming into direct contact, reducing the wear and tear on teeth.

  • Absorbing Pressure

They distribute the force of grinding and clenching, alleviating stress on the teeth and jaw.

  • Promoting Muscle Relaxation

By cushioning the teeth, night guards help reduce muscle tension and discomfort. Call us to learn more

Choosing the Right Night Guard

When selecting a night guard, consider the following:

Fit

Custom night guards made by a dentist provide the best protection and comfort. They are tailored to fit your bite perfectly.

Material

Look for durable, high-quality materials that can withstand the pressure of grinding. Softer materials may be more comfortable, but harder materials tend to last longer.

Thickness

The severity of your bruxism will determine the thickness needed. Severe grinders may require thicker night guards for added protection.

Caring for Your Mouth Guard

Proper care of your mouth guard is crucial to ensure its longevity and effectiveness. Follow these steps to keep your mouth guard clean and in good condition:

Rinse Before and After Use

Rinse your mouth guard with warm water before and after each use to remove debris and bacteria.

Brush Regularly

Use a toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to gently clean your mouth guard at least once a day.

Use Mouth Guard Cleaner

Consider using a specialized mouth guard cleaner or a solution of mild soap and water for a deeper clean.

Avoid Hot Water

Do not expose your mouth guard to hot water, as it can warp and lose its shape.

Store Properly

Keep your mouth guard in a ventilated case to prevent bacterial growth. Ensure the case is clean and dry.

Conclusion

Mouth guards are an essential tool for protecting your smile, whether you're an athlete, a teeth grinder, or undergoing orthodontic treatment. At Orthodontic Nations in The Woodlands TX, we are committed to providing top-notch dental care to our patients. Contact Orthodontic Nations today to learn more about mouth guards and their benefits.

If you have any questions about orthodontic treatment, don't hesitate to contact Orthodontic Nations. We're here to help you every step of the way, ensuring a positive and rewarding orthodontic experience. Call us at (936) 242-0788 or visit us at 3091 College Park Dr., Suite 310, The Woodlands TX 77384.

Location

3091 College Park Dr. Suite 310,
The Woodlands, TX 77384

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