Mouthguards Provide Smile Protection for Everyone
Many of us have heard of (or have used) retainers at one point in our lives. Retainers are often used in orthodontic treatment and can keep our teeth straight, but are not specialized in helping protect our teeth – that falls to the category of mouthguards.
How can Mouthguards Protect Your Smile?
- Cover your teeth to protect teeth and gums
- Custom mouth guards fit and protect your teeth better than over-the-counter products
- Night guards can ease bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Kids and adults should wear mouthguards during contact sports or activities like biking
The Benefits of Mouthguards
Mouth guards provide wonderful protection benefits, such as:
- When we play sports. Mouth guards are great athletic gear, especially for collision sports such as boxing, higher-risk sports, and non-contact activities.
- When we’re sleeping. If you’re experiencing sleep apnea or breathing problems when sleeping, mouth guards (also known as Night Guards) can help. Research shows that oral appliance therapy, or a mouth guard, is an effective treatment option for sleep apnea and snoring. This mouth guard is worn only while you sleep and fits like an orthodontic retainer. These oral appliances support your jaw, to help maintain an open upper airway even as your muscles relax.
- When we’re stressed and/or clench our teeth. When we’re dealing with stress, we can unconsciously clench our jaws and teeth during the day and during the night. With the additional stress that has come with a year and a half COVID-19, many dentists are seeing their patients break their teeth or crowns from clenching. Mouth guards provide wonderful protection from this!
Learn all about Mouthguards
Who Needs a Mouthguard?
Mouthguards can be used by anyone – children and adults alike. In fact, with so many kiddos participating in school and extra-curricular sports activities, it’s important to consider the importance of a mouth guard for sports – such as basketball, soccer, football, volleyball, gymnastics, etc. Even if you or your child only participates in recreational activities, such as skateboarding or hiking, mouth guards are still a great option for protection to remove risk of oral injury. Accidents happen and if you have a dental emergency, we’re here to help! Learn more Emergency Dentistry and what to do!
Mouthguards are also common for adults or children who grind their teeth at night. At the offices of Thomas L. Anderson, DDS and Associates we can create custom-fitting mouth guards, night guards and dental appliances that are comfortable and fit perfectly within your mouth for sleep without damaging your teeth! Let’s dive into this issue a little deeper, as the need for our patients to protect their teeth while they sleep is becoming a much more common occurrence.
Are You Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth While You Sleep? Stress can affect your Oral Health.
Did you know that Bruxism is a condition where you grind, gnash, or clench your teeth? Not only does this mean you may clench your teeth while you’re awake, but it also means you may clench or grind your teeth at night. When you grind at night, it’s also known as sleep bruxism. If you do this, you’re also prone to other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or snoring. Although mild cases of bruxism may not require treatment, more severe cases of bruxism can cause headaches, jaw problems, damaged teeth, and more.
Bruxism Causes – What We Know
Now that we know what bruxism is, it’s important to look at some of the probable causes. Stress is a major factor in teeth grinding/clenching. When our levels of stress have peaked, we may not even know we’re clenching or grinding until we see our dentist or notice that we’re doing it. However, stress isn’t the only factor for Bruxism.
Other causes include:
- Anger, frustration, and stress
- Age – Sometimes Bruxism is prevalent in children, but can be outgrown into adulthood
- Personality type – some aggressive personality types can increase the risk
- Family members who also experience bruxism
- Medications – Alcohol, tobacco use, and certain medications can increase the risk
- Other disorders – Bruxism has been associated with other disorders, such as sleep apnea, mental health disorders, dementia, etc.
What to Do to Stop Bruxism
Our dental experts can set you up with a mouth guard to protect your teeth and jaw from any grinding at night. This mouthguard will be made specifically for your mouth, so the fit is perfect. If your Bruxism is linked to stress, then there are some stress-reduction techniques you can try, including:
- Talk therapy
You can also try tongue and jaw muscle exercises! This exercise is from Healthline.com and can help relax your facial muscles to reduce clenching.
- “Open your mouth wide while touching your tongue to your front teeth. This helps relax the jaw.”
- “Say the letter “N” out loud. This will keep your top and bottom teeth from touching and help you avoid clenching.”
If you’re concerned about Bruxism or notice any signs, please contact us today!
Taking Care of My Mouthguard
Similar to a retainer, you can rinse your mouth guard daily with cold water and gently brush it with mild soap and a toothbrush. You can also:
- Clean it with cool, soapy water and rinse.
- Place your mouth guard in a perforated container to keep airflow while it’s stored. Or, if you have an acrylic mouth guard, you can keep it in fresh, clean water.
- It’s good to protect your mouth guard from hot temperatures – hot water, surfaces, etc.
- If you see any holes or wear and tear on your mouth guard, it is time to replace it.
- You can also bring your mouth guard with you when you visit us and we can examine it!
Do You Have Questions About Protecting Your Smile?
We can provide a thorough exam to assess the health of your smile. At Thomas L. Anderson and Associates, we can help you protect your teeth and ensure you maintain a lifetime of healthy smiles. We proudly offer our services to the Kansas City Metro and surrounding areas. Contact us today at one of our three convenient locations to schedule your dental appointment for custom mouthguards or to learn more about our other services.
Contact us today to schedule your dental appointment and meet with our skilled dentists at one of our three conveniently located dental office locations within the Kansas City area, including Lee’s Summit / Independence, the Country Club Plaza and Downtown Kansas City. The gentle dentists and expert team at Thomas L. Anderson and Associates look forward to working with you to treat your dental emergency, achieve proper oral health and a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. If you have any questions about your dental insurance benefits, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to review your policy! Please give us a call today to schedule an appointment and become part of our dental family.