Kirkland dentist explains the benefit of custom dental mouth guards
Protective gear should be worn by all children, teenagers, and adults who engage in contact sports. Many people remember the helmet and padding. However, the most commonly neglected area is the mouth, which should be equally protected. In Kirkland, WA, Dr. Ann Kelley and the team at Kingsgate Dental Clinic offer the benefit of custom dental mouth guards to prevent oral injuries.
Types of mouth guards
A mouth guard is an appliance designed to protect the teeth and bite. A good mouth guard should be easy to clean, resilient, and sturdy, yet still comfortable. The guard should fit well, so it does not inhibit breathing or clear speech . There are several types of mouth protectors – boil and bite, stock guards, and custom-designed.
Stock guards and boil and bite guards are readily available at sporting goods stores. They are pre-formed and are generally inexpensive. However, these designs may not fit comfortably. A well-made, custom sports mouth guard can help prevent injuries to the teeth, jaw, or brain. Retail mouth guards are not designed in the same manner, so they do not meet standards for optimal safety and efficiency. Having proper, comfortable gear improves patient compliance in wearing the device and its effectiveness at protecting the teeth and soft tissues.
Benefits of custom dental mouth guards
A custom mouth guard is created using dental impressions of the patient’s teeth. The impressions are sent to a laboratory for guard fabrication. These mouth guards fit the most comfortably and offer the best protection. Dental mouth guards precisely fit the patient’s mouth for a comfortable, functional fit.
Mouth guards are used to protect athletes during contact sports. This protects the mouth from damage such as a fracture or tooth loss. The guard may also be prescribed for patients with bruxism, night grinding, or TMD. It helps prevent patients from grinding their teeth at night and keeps pressure off the jaw.
A mouth guard may not seem significant until one understands what it actually does. Benefits of dental mouth guards include:
- Protects the teeth during sports.
- The mouth guard maintains the integrity of the facial structures.
- It protects the bite.
- The dental appliance helps prevent future dental problems.
Protection from sports injuries
Trauma to the face is a common injury in contact sports. Contact sports involves activities in which the player comes into direct contact with a ball or another player. This includes football, basketball, baseball, rugby, lacrosse, hockey, martial arts, wrestling, skateboarding, and more. For any athlete involved in these activities, a mouth guard should be worn for protection. Sports leagues often require the use of a mouth guard. Players who do not use proper face and mouth protection are at great risk for seriously injuring their facial structures. Injuring the face can affect other areas including traumatic injury to the brain. A mouth guard and a helmet are recommended during contact sports for protection.
Protection for the bite and facial structures
The bite maintains the integrity of the facial structure. If a tooth is lost, particularly in the back of the mouth, the bite is disrupted. This causes a ripple effect. The muscles of the face change. The jaw and joints are affected as well. The balance of the mouth is thrown off with the loss of even a single tooth.
Protection from future problems
Wearing a dental mouth guard provides general protection to avoid the need for future work. Because sporting events or bruxism can damage the teeth, a mouth guard protects the teeth from potential damage and the need to correct it. Restorative dental work can be time-consuming and costly. Depending on the type of damage that occurs from trauma, a root canal could be necessary if the pulp of the tooth is exposed. Restorations such as crowns or bridges could be used to fix broken or missing teeth.