You brush and floss diligently. You attend all dental appointments. You have undergone preventative, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry treatments to achieve and maintain a healthy smile. You do all you can to care for your teeth. It’s important to protect your investment, too. That is why custom mouth guards are so beneficial.
Here, Dr. Robert Hessberger and our Chicago, IL dental team explore mouth guard candidates and discuss who can benefit from these custom oral appliances.
About Custom Mouth Guards
Simply put, a custom mouth guard is an oral appliance that protects your teeth from damage. Designed for your unique dental anatomy, a custom mouth guard fits snugly and comfortably over the teeth.
In most cases, it is only worn over the upper teeth. However, there may be instances when the lower teeth or both dental arches need protection.
Mouth Guard Candidates
There are several different types of mouth guards available, based on the patient’s specific needs. There are oral appliances for athletes, and for those suffering from bruxism or TMJ disorder. In the sections below, we will explore each of these in more detail.
Athletic Mouth Guards
Every year, over five million teeth are avulsed, or knocked-out. Many of these injuries occur during athletic events. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that all children wear a mouth guard during sports participation, no matter what the activity.
The American Dental Association recommends that adults wear a mouth guard when participating in:
- Track and field
- Equestrian events
- Field hockey
- Ice hockey
- Roller skating
- Martial arts
- Sky diving
- Water polo
- Weight lifting
Wearing a mouth guard can help you protect your teeth from damage and save you hundreds of dollars in restorative procedures.
Mouth Guards for Bruxism
Bruxism, teeth grinding or clenching, can occur for a number of reasons. It could develop because of an abnormal bite or an orthodontic issue. Most commonly, it occurs during times of stress. Most frequently, bruxism happens during sleep. Therefore, many individuals may not even realize they are doing it.
Bruxism can lead to tooth erosion, TMJ issues, and other serious dental conditions.
A custom mouth guard can cushion the teeth and protect them from damage. The appliance keeps the teeth apart and alleviates the symptoms associated with the condition.
Mouth Guards for TMJ Disorder
When the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) on either side of your jaw become inflamed, it is referred to as TMJ disorder. This condition can be caused by the erosion of the joint’s cushioning disk, or it may be triggered by arthritis, bruxism, or traumatic injury.
Custom mouth guards for TMJ disorder focus on positioning the lower jaw in a more favorable position. This alleviates the pressure placed on the jaw joints and reduces associated pain.
Custom Mouth Guards vs. Store-bought Appliances
Over-the-counter mouth guards can be found in virtually every grocery store, pharmacy, and sporting goods stores in the country. While these can be effective, they are typically bulky and cumbersome to wear, and many patients find then uncomfortable. A custom oral appliance is a comfortable, long-lasting option when protecting your smile.
Contact Us for More Information
If you would like to learn more about the custom mouth guards offered at our practice, schedule a consultation. You can contact us online anytime.