Keeping your teeth healthy and functional requires more than just brushing and flossing. Every year, countless children and adults experience tooth damage as a result of sports injuries or chronic tooth grinding or clenching. Mouth guards play an essential role in preventing damage and preserving the structural integrity of teeth. While premade mouth guards are available, a custom-fitted guard provided by your dentist offers maximum protection. Custom mouth guards are created using impressions of your teeth and mouth, ensuring a snug yet comfortable fit. Unlike stock mouth guards, custom guards fit securely over your teeth and gums, which means you don’t have to worry about them slipping out of your mouth. Dr. Julie Spaniel offers custom-made night guards and sports guards at her state-of-the-art Portland dental practice.
Sports guards are thin and flexible pieces of plastic worn over the upper teeth to protect the teeth, gums and soft tissues of the mouth from impact during sporting activities. According to the American Dental Association, sports guards could help prevent hundreds of thousands of oral injuries every year if properly worn by athletes while playing contact or collision sports.
Custom sports guards offer several benefits over stock or “boil-and-bite” mouth guards available at many sporting goods stores. Individuals, especially children, are more likely to wear a sports guard that fits well in their mouth. An ill-fitting sports guard, like those available at stores, may irritate the soft tissues of the mouth or even impair normal breathing or speech. In addition, custom sports guards are a great option for orthodontic patients since the guard is designed to accommodate the patient’s unique specifications, including braces. Fabricated using strong, high-quality materials, custom sports guards are durable and should last a long time.
Bruxism is the habitual grinding or clenching of teeth. Many people who grind or clench their teeth are unaware that they do so, since it primarily occurs while they sleep. Bruxism can cause uncomfortable jaw pain or soreness, as well as headaches. It can also subject your teeth to an incredible amount of force that can lead to serious dental issues. Grinding and clenching your teeth can wear down the tooth enamel, putting them at risk of cracks, fractures, gum disease and decay.
A night guard, also known as a bite guard, protects your teeth from the damaging effects of grinding or clenching. It can also alleviate jaw pain caused by bruxism and promote better jaw muscle positioning. Because custom night guards are created using impressions of your mouth, they should fit comfortably over your teeth and should not bother you as you sleep. Custom night guards are much more durable than stock guards, which can wear down fast and require frequent replacement.