Last month we talked about the topic of teeth grinding. With the start of spring, and a rise in outdoor activities and sports, let’s take it a step further and discuss mouthguards. As a San Mateo dentist and family practice, we’ve seen plenty of oral injuries as a result of sports. People of all ages can be better protected by staying informed on ways in which to properly protect their teeth.
Mouthguards are designed to fit in the mouth, and are ideally, molded to your unique bite. There are 3 common types of mouthguards:
Stock Inventory: This style is completely generic and worn as is. It cannot be molded, but does provide cushion and support to your teeth and jaw bone. Young children, people who wear braces, and those who just need a little extra protection are best suited for this style.
Boil and Bite: This type of mouthguard is available in most sporting goods stores and is user friendly. Follow the simple directions on the box. Typically, the mouthguard is placed in boiling water for a short time, allowed to slightly cool, and then inserted into the mouth to mold. These are an inexpensive way to get a molded mouthguard and easy to replace. They work great for young children whose teeth are ever changing and moving. These provide some level of protection and cushion to the teeth and jaw bones should an impact to the head occur.
Custom: Our San Mateo dentist offers custom made mouthguards to individuals who need the best protection. These are fitted to the exact specifications of your mouth and teeth and are the most comfortable of any style. Custom fit mouthguards offer the greatest protection. You’ll reduce the risk of a broken or chipped tooth and gain the necessary cushioning between your upper and lower jaws to eliminate damage to the joints.
When to wear a mouthguard
Mouthguards should be viewed as part of your everyday sports uniform. They should be worn during practice and games. Injuries can occur at any time. Even when biking and skating, you should consider a mouthguard, especially if you grind your teeth. Our San Mateo dentist sees many patients who clench their jaws during competition and strenuous activities and a mouthguard relieves that pressure while keeping you safe.
Talk with our office if you notice pain when you wake up in the morning. This may also be a sign that you sleep with a clenched jaw or grind your teeth. Different styles of mouthguards exist for this very reason.
This season, as you grab your sports bag to head out the door, make sure you have all of the safety equipment you need; and don’t forget your mouthguard. You’ll be protecting not only your body, but your gorgeous smile as well. For more information on oral health, visit our Facebook page. Happy spring to all of you, and enjoy your games and activities.
In need of immediate care?
We provide emergency phone consultation services after working hours and on weekends. Call us at our office (831) 724-6000