Candidates for Mouth Guards

By Steven Kail on July 09, 2013

Dental Mouth Guard CandidatesWhen people think about dental care, they usually think about regular checkups and treating tooth decay. That's not all there is to dental care, though. There are many different treatments for other functional needs, even safeguards for overall dental health and wellness. When you visit our center for general and cosmetic dentistry, we'll be more than happy to go over all of the dental services that we offer.

Right now, we wanted to look at one particular dental appliance that many people take for granted: mouth guards.

What are mouth guards?

Mouth guards are specially made retainers that patients wear on their teeth. When in place, the mouth guard will protect the teeth and other structures of the mouth from harm.

Types of Mouth Guards

There are three kinds of mouth guards that are available based on how customized they are.

  • Stock Mouth Guards - These kinds of mouth guards can be purchased over the counter at the local sporting goods store or drug store. They are not customized in any way, so purchasers may experience problems with the size and fit of these mouth guards.
  • Boil and Bite Mouth Guards (Semi-Customizable) - These kinds of mouth guards are purchased at the store but are semi-customized. The mouth guards are made of a special polymer that is pliable when heated. Patients will bite into the heated mouth guard as instructed to create a reasonable impression of their teeth.
  • Custom-Designed Mouth Guards - These kinds of mouth guards are fully customized to the patient's teeth. They must be designed by dentists working in conjunction with a dental lab.

Let us now look at some of the most common uses for mouth guards: athletics and tooth grinding treatment.

Mouth Guards for Athletes and Sports Enthusiasts

One of the most well-known uses for mouth guards is oral protection for competitive sports. This is especially ideal for full-contact sports and combat sports, such as:

  • Football
  • Rugby
  • Hockey
  • Wrestling
  • Boxing
  • Mixed martial arts (MMA)

Generally it's a good idea for athletes to look into customized mouth guards in order to ensure maximum comfort and maximum protection as well.

Mouth Guards for Tooth Grinding

Another common use for mouth guards is to treat tooth grinding. Tooth grinding (bruxism) is the clenching, shifting, gnawing, and gnashing of the teeth at night when a patient is asleep. This can cause major strain on the jaw resulting in a TMJ disorder and tooth damage.

A night guard is tooth grinding mouth guard that patients wear when they are asleep. When in place, the teeth of the upper and lower dental arches cannot come into contact, reducing pressure on the jaw joint and eliminating potential damage from tooth contact.

Addressing Problems Associated with Tooth Grinding

The night guard is rarely sufficient for comprehensive treatment of tooth grinding. Many times orthodontic care will be used as well to improve occlusion, stress management techniques offered to mitigate any other factors contributing to the tooth grinding, and dental restorations such as dental crowns used to fix any tooth damage.

Learn More About Your Dental Care Options

For more information about dental mouth guards and the many other options out there for enhancing dental care, be sure to contact our West Tennessee dental care centers today. Our teams in Bells, Brownsville, and Jackson look forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve excellent dental health.

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