Common Uses for Dental Mouth Guards
The teeth may be strong, but they are not immune to the damaging effects of chronic teeth grinding or sudden sports-related accidents, which is why dental mouth guards are beneficial for many people. A custom fitted mouth guard can help protect the teeth from being worn down by habitual teeth grinding or help save the teeth from damage caused by a sports-related injury.
Mouth guards are widely known as protective devices. However, they can also be worn to help relieve the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ disorder. To see if dental mouth guards are right for you, schedule a consultation with cosmetic dentist Michael Bixby. Before your consultation, we offer the following to help familiarize you with the uses of dental mouth guards.
Dental Mouth Guard Uses
Dental mouth guards offer dental protection and oral relief. Here are a few of the most common uses for dental mouth guards.
- Protection from Teeth Grinding: Habitual teeth grinding can cause major damage to the teeth such as fractures, chips, decay, and in extreme cases, the teeth can be worn down to nubs. Though the best way to treat teeth grinding is to determine the causes, which may include stress, anxiety, malocclusion, or crooked teeth, dental mouth guards offer a viable option in preventing the damage teeth grinding causes.
- Protection from Sports-related Injuries: For those who participate in contact sports, or even extreme sports like skateboarding and BMX bike riding, dental mouth guards are extremely important. Not only do dental mouth guards help protect the teeth from impact to the face and mouth, but they also help protect the tongue from being bitten.
- TMJ Treatment and Relief: TMJ is an often painful condition in which the temporomandibular joint within the jaw does not function properly. The symptoms of TMJ disorder generally include a clicking of the jaw, difficulty opening and closing the jaw, and even headaches and neck and jaw pain. TMJ disorder can be exacerbated by teeth grinding or teeth clenching. Dental mouth guards can help alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorder by reducing stress on the jaw. Dental mouth guards are effective at reducing stress on the jaw by ensuring the teeth stay unclenched.
Types of Mouth Guards
There are different types of mouth guards designed for specific use. In general, mouth guards are worn over the upper teeth and should fit comfortably. A properly fitting mouth guard should not interfere with your ability to breathe. Some of the different types of mouth guards include:
- Custom-Fitted Mouth Guards: Custom-fitted mouth guards offer optimal comfort and protection as they are made from an impression of your teeth for a perfect fit.
- Nocturnal Bite Plate or Bite Splint: Most teeth grinding occurs during sleep, which makes nocturnal bite plates or bite splints one of the best choices for those who suffer from teeth grinding.
- Store Bought Mouth Guards: Store bought mouth guards include stock mouth guards, which come as is and are nonadjustable, and boil and bite mouth guards. Boil and bite mouth guards can be adjusted for a better fit than stock mouth guards. Both types of mouth guards are best suited to sporting needs.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, we welcome you to contact Dr. Bixby today!