Dentists use mouth guards to treat, manage, or prevent several oral conditions or injuries. Below are some reasons your dentist may advise you to get a mouth guard.
You Have Bruxism
Bruxism is an oral disorder characterized by chronic teeth clenching and grinding. Bruxism-related teeth clenching and grinding occurs even when you are asleep. The condition can wear, weaken, or crack your teeth. Bruxism can trigger jaw pain, headaches, and tooth pain. Stress and sleep problems are known risk factors for bruxism.
Diagnosing and treating the underlying condition is the best way to deal with bruxism. However, your dentist may prescribe a mouthguard to protect your teeth. You put on the mouth guard while sleeping to reduce the pressure on your teeth.
You Play Contact Sports
Contact sports such as soccer, hockey, and boxing have a high risk of mouth injuries. A blow to the mouth can easily crack, dislodge, or chip a tooth. A blow to the mouth can also force you to bite your soft tissues, such as the tongue, cheeks, or lips.
A mouth guard absorbs the impact of blows to the mouth to lessen their effect on the teeth. The mouth guard also keeps your teeth apart so you don't bite the soft tissues. Get a customized mouth guard for maximum protection since everyone's mouth differs. An over-the-counter mouthguard might not fit properly.
You Engage in High-fall-risk Activities
Any activity with a high risk of falling risks injury to the mouth, even if it's not a contact sport. For example, you can fall and hit your mouth while biking, ice skating, or enjoying gymnastics. Many extreme sports also fall into this category. Mouth injuries from these sports resemble those from contact sports accidents. Consider a customized mouth guard to protect your mouth.
You Have TMJ Disorder
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your skull and jawbone. TMJ disorders cause pain in the joint and surrounding tissues. Dentists do not know the exact cause of the disorders, but genetics, injuries, and arthritis are contributing factors. TMJ disorders can lead to facial pain and difficulty eating.
Treatment for TMJ disorders varies depending on severity and symptoms; some benefit from mouth guards. Consult a dentist to determine whether your case qualifies for a mouthguard.
You Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea causes the throat muscles to relax and interfere with your breathing during sleep. Many suffering from the condition also clench and grind their teeth. Risk factors for the condition include being overweight, male, and old age. Treatment includes wearing a mouth guard that keeps the airway open by holding the jaw and tongue in fixed positions.
To learn more, contact a local family-owned dentist office near you.