Just like the name suggests, mouthguards are used to protect or guard the mouth – especially the teeth. Patients of all ages can qualify for a mouthguard. Depending on the intention and type of the mouthguard, these removable oral appliances can be worn during the day or the night.
There are two basic reasons why patients seek a custom mouthguard. They can be worn to protect the mouth during sports (athletic mouthguard) or to guard the teeth and jaw from bruxism during the night (nightguard). In either case, mouthguards from your dentist are fabricated to maximize comfort, durability and effectiveness.
A sports mouthguard can protect a player from mouth injuries that involve lip/cheek lacerations, chipped/cracked teeth, knocked out teeth, jaw fractures and more. Mouthguards aren’t just for football or hockey. In fact, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends a mouthguard for all children and youth participating in any organized sports activities. Is your athlete protected?
Know the Statistics
If you are still unsure about requiring your child to wear a mouthguard during play, consider the following staggering statistics:
- More than 5 million teeth are injured or knocked out every year, resulting in nearly 500 million dollars spent on replacing teeth.
- Up to 39% of all dental injuries are related to sports
- Sporting activities account for the greatest percentage of traumatic dental injuries in teens
- 50% of all children and teens will suffer at least one traumatic injury to a tooth by the time they graduate from high school
- Broken teeth and other oral related injuries account for more than 600,000 emergency room visits a year
- Sports related injuries account for 3 times more facial and dental injuries than violence or traffic accident
- Athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer harm to their teeth when not wearing a mouth guard!
The good news is that an estimated 200,000 oral injuries are estimated to be prevented annually in the U.S. by wearing mouth guards!
A mouthguard can also be designed to be worn during nighttime sleep if a patient has a teeth grinding habit. Bruxism can involve a subconscious grinding or clenching of the teeth for hours on end. This puts tremendous strain on the TMJ (jaw joint) as well as the structures of your teeth. In fact, they are not intended to withstand this much pressure. Over time, patients can suffer the following symptoms of nighttime bruxism:
- Jaw clicking/popping
- Jaw pain or stiffness
- Ear pain
- Receding gums
- Worn down teeth
- Cracked fillings
- Loose or shifting teeth
Since it is nearly impossible to consciously stop a sleep habit like teeth grinding, a custom nightguard is used to protect your smile from the habit. When fit and worn correctly, a nightguard can provide a barrier for your teeth as well as lessen the strain of your jaw joint and surrounding muscles. Nightguards are especially important if you have expensive dental implants or other expensive dental restorations.
Store-Bought Versus Custom Mouthguards
Both sports mouthguards or nighttime mouthguards can be purchased online or at your local store. These versions are typically less expensive – but they often come with a higher price tag in terms of comfort, durability and effectiveness. Store-bought mouthguards at typically use a “boil and bite” approach that doesn’t always offer the most precise fit. When a mouthguard doesn’t fit correctly over your unique smile, it is less likely to stay in place and do its job of protecting your mouth.
Custom mouthguards, on the other hand, are made from higher quality materials and tailored to fit over every crevice and groove of your smile. Mouthguards from a dentist are more comfortable and longer-lasting. In fact, a custom athletic mouthguard can allow players to speak, breathe and drink without removal.
To learn more about the benefits of custom mouthguards from a trusted New York dentist? Call Group Health Dental. Whether you have child in contact sports or a husband who grinds his teeth at night, we value the importance of doing everything we can to protect their smile and save you from costly dental repairs. Getting a custom mouthguard involves a simple and very brief office visit!