Mouth guards have many names – occlusal guard, night guard, bite guard, mouthpiece, occlusal splint – and function as a protective appliance to shield the teeth and gums from injury or damage. They are available in different forms, but the best and most effective type are those provided by the dentist.
Custom-made mouth guards are explicitly fabricated to match the patient’s teeth and bite to provide a proper fit and optimal protection. The patient will need to visit the dentist to have the impression of their teeth taken. This process is simple and takes about 15 minutes. The impression will be sent to the dental lab to create the mouth guard, which should be available in about a week. Mouth guards can be used for the upper or lower set of teeth or both.
Uses of mouth guards
Dental experts typically recommend mouth guards as a solution to many dental conditions, aside from their use by athletes for protection. The dentist may recommend the device for any of the following conditions:
This is the medical term for teeth grinding or clenching. Teeth grinding occurs unconsciously during sleep or in the daytime when the person feels stressed. This condition causes enamel deterioration, and without a protective shield, it can cause a chipped or cracked tooth. Damaged enamel cannot be repaired and must be replaced with a restoration such as dental crowns or veneers. Fixing the teeth is usually expensive if not inconvenient.
A mouth guard can reduce the effects of bruxism by serving as a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth, so they do not hit against each other. It removes the pressure off the jaws and prevents damage. Since teeth grinding while sleeping is inadvertent, the surest and safest way to protect the teeth is by wearing a device that keeps the teeth apart.
The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the rest of the skull. Wearing a mouthpiece, in this case, helps to relieve pressure on the TMJ and alleviate strain. Also, persistently clenching the jaws while sleeping or when upset can cause headaches, soreness in the jaw joints and facial muscles and TMJ disorder, which may result in severe pain in the neck, jaw and face.
Application of medications
Topical medications such as corticosteroids and pastes for oral conditions are sometimes better applied using a bite guard. The drug is applied to the guard and worn over the teeth to keep the medicine in place over the teeth and gums.
Prevent dental injuries
People who participate in high-impact routines such as sports can prevent injuries to their teeth by wearing mouth guards. The device will be a protective barrier to rebuff any possible force to the teeth.
Aesthetics and protection
Just as mouth guards are used for delivering medications, they can also be used to apply bleaching materials for whitening the teeth.
If you think you or a loved one might benefit from wearing mouth guards, contact your dentist to have a custom guard created.
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