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.
July 8, 2013
Teeth grinding can lead to major dental damage and should not go untreated. If you suffer from teeth grinding, cosmetic dentist Wayne Myles offers a number of treatment options that may be right for you.
Why Treat Teeth Grinding?
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a common condition that can lead to serious dental problems like dental decay or even tooth loss. Prolonged teeth grinding is actually dangerous to overall health for a number of reasons, including:
- Wears away tooth enamel: Tooth enamel is the hard, outer layer of the tooth, which protects against decay. Teeth grinding destroys the enamel and makes the teeth vulnerable to decay.
- Loosened teeth and gum recession: Habitual teeth grinding can loosen the teeth within their sockets, leading to other dental problems like gum recession and tooth loss.
- May result in tooth loss: Teeth grinding can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Teeth grinding may lead to tooth loss either from decay (in which case extraction may be required) or from the loosening of the tooth root from the socket.
- May fracture the teeth: Teeth grinding puts constant stress on the teeth, which can lead to fractures.
- Cause or worsen TMD: Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMD or TMJ, can be caused or worsened by teeth grinding.
- Causes headaches, neck, and/or jaw pain: The constant strain teeth grinding puts on the jaw may result in constant dull headaches, neck pain, or jaw pain.
- Results in sleep disturbances: Because most teeth grinding occurs while sleeping, many sufferers may have difficulty sleeping. Teeth grinding is often so loud it may also disturb the sleep of a partner.
Teeth Grinding Treatments
Teeth grinding is detrimental to both dental and general health and should not be left untreated. Fortunately there are preventative and restorative treatments available to alleviate the symptoms and repair the damage caused by teeth grinding.
- Mouth Guards: Mouth guards, or splints, are one of the most effective treatments for teeth grinding. Mouth guards are custom-made devices that are worn during sleep to protect the teeth from the damage caused by teeth grinding.
- Orthodontic Treatments: For some, teeth grinding is caused by poor alignment of the teeth. Orthodontics can be used to correct misalignment, thereby treating teeth grinding caused by a bad bite.
- Stress Reducing Activities: Teeth grinding is sometimes caused by stress and anxiety. Practicing stress-reducing activities like meditation, yoga, and walking can help those with stress induced bruxism.
- Porcelain Veneers: Porcelain veneers are a wonderful treatment to restore the appearance and strength of teeth damaged by grinding. Porcelain veneers are tooth-shaped shells that fit over the front surface of the teeth to restore the teeth to their former shape and protect the teeth from further damage.
- Dental Crowns: Dental crowns are another option for treating teeth grinding. Dental crowns tooth-shaped caps that fit completely over damaged teeth. Dental crowns are perfect for treating fractured, decayed, or weakened teeth.
- Dental Implants: Dental implants are a permanent solution to replace teeth lost due to teeth grinding. A dental implant is a screw-like metal post placed within the jaw, to which a dental restoration is attached. Dental restorations for dental implants include single dental crowns, dental bridges, or implant-supported dentures.
Schedule an Appointment
Don't let teeth grinding go untreated! Schedule an appointment with Dr. Myles today!