Who Is a Good Candidate for Getting a Mouth Guard?

Nov 21, 2015 @ 11:53 AM — by Lauren Shanard

A mouth guardThere are many different ways that a dentist can help you have a healthy and beautiful smile. Dr. Lauren Shanard understands this, which is why the practice offers so many options for general dental care, preventative dental care, and restorative dentistry to improve overall dental wellness.

What's surprising to many is that a number of different issues can be treated or addressed thanks to a small piece of plastic. Let's consider why mouth guards are so helpful.

What Is a Mouth Guard?

A mouth guard is a type of retainer that is worn to protect the teeth, gums, and potentially other parts of the mouth from potential injury or harm. These mouth guards can be purchased over the counter or custom made for a patient.

What Mouth Guards Are Designed to Do

There are many different applications for mouth guards. Sometimes they are preventative in nature, while in other instances they are crucial for proper treatment of a dental or medical condition. Let's note three common uses for mouth guards: sports dentistry, treating teeth grinding, and addressing TMJ disorders.

Athletes Should Consider Mouth Guards for Training and Competition

An athletic mouth guard is a must for people who participate in contact sports (football, hockey) and combat sports (boxing, MMA). This mouth guard is in place to protect the teeth from chips and cracks, and it can also prevent a person from biting his or her tongue. Custom mouth guards for athletes are crucial for comfort while also maintaining a competitive edge.

Mouth guards are ideal for non-contact sports as well, such as basketball and soccer, just given how physical things can get during competition. Pro athletes, student athletes, and even just weekend warriors and hobbyists can benefit from sports mouth guards.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) Can Be Addressed Using Mouth Guards

Teeth grinding is a condition in which a person clenches, shifts, and gnashes his or her teeth during sleep. When this occurs, it can lead to tooth damage, soreness in the mouth, headaches, gum recession, and even problems with the jaw joint.

The use of a mouth guard is a common part of treating teeth grinding. With a mouth guard in place, there is no direct contact between the upper teeth and lower teeth, meaning less damage to the teeth as a result.

TMJ Disorders Can Be Alleviated with a Mouth Guard

A TMJ disorder (also known as a TMD) is a condition that involves dysfunctions of the jaw joint and the overall structures of the jaw. It's most noticeable from the clicking, locking, grinding, and popping sensations of the jaw. This can be quite painful, and can make eating and yawning a problem.

Since TMJ disorders are often caused by teeth grinding, it's not uncommon for a mouth guard to be used as part of the treatment process. This alleviated the stress on the jaw and allows other therapies to be performed to address joint issues directly.

Learn More About the Use of Mouth Guards

For more information about mouth guards and how they can help you have the healthiest smile possible, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Dr. Lauren Shanard will work closely with you to ensure that your teeth and gums look and feel great.

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