September 30, 2013
In contact sports, players often take measures to protect their bodies – padding and helmets are common precautions. Equally important, though, is the protection of a player’s teeth. Mouth guards are an excellent way to prevent damage to one’s teeth or mouth in any physical activity where there’s risk of injury.
Sports are not the only time when a mouth guard is helpful, however. Chronic conditions such as sleep apnea or bruxism can also be solved with similar devices. Reston dentist Wayne Myles explains how different types of mouth guards can preserve your smile.
During Physical Activity
Contact sports and similarly hazardous physical activities can result in chipped or lost teeth. To avoid this problem and resultant costly procedures, such as dental crowns or bridges, consider the use of a mouth guard one of three forms.
- Standard stock mouth guards: Commonly seen in sporting goods and department stores, these mouth guards have little form to them. They are designed for all users, and thus do not conform to any dental pattern. Though cheap and effective, they can be uncomfortable and interfere with regular breathing or speech.
- “Boil-and-bite” mouth guards: These may also be purchased commercially, but are intended for greater comfort and modification.Users first boil the material to soften it, and then place it over the teeth to create a specialized and fixed mold. This allows for a better fit when wearing the mouth guard, while providing more comfort than standard models.
- Customized mouth guards: For the greatest comfort and protection, dentists can create customized mouth guards that are precisely molded for the user. The dentist will form an impression of the patient’s teeth, using it to produce a customized mouth guard. Although they are more expensive than store bought products, these mouth guards are of superior quality.
For Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which sleep patterns are affected by disruptions in breathing. The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive, meaning the body’s airways are partially blocked. For some patients with this disorder, a mouth guard may help resolve sleeping issues.
Some sleep apnea patients are prescribed a CPAP mask, which promotes airflow and ventilation. However, many patients find it unwieldy and difficult to wear in bed. A custom dental mouth guard can help correct jaw alignment while your sleep, increasing airway flow in a far more comfortable manner.
Patients with bruxism suffer from the unconscious grinding or clenching of their teeth. This can occur throughout the day without the person’s knowledge, or at night during sleep. Some dentists may recommend a special type of mouth guard, called an occlusal splint, to mitigate this problem. The effectiveness of splints varies from patient to patient, and only a consultation with your dentist can determine if this treatment is right for you.
Contact Our Reston Office Today
Dr. Wayne Myles is skilled in general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry, and strives to meet your needs with every visit. We look forward to hearing from you and answering any questions or concerns you may have. To see if a custom mouthguard is the right choice for you, contact our office to schedule an appointment.
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