Many people associate mouth guards with athletes and sports. Mouth guards can be used to protect a player’s teeth when they are involved in contact sports. Some people may not realize that mouth guards can also be worn at night to prevent damage that can be caused by bruxism (grinding of the teeth). Dr. Bruce Wilderman, an experienced Philadelphia cosmetic dentist, may recommend the use of a mouth guard for patients who play sports, those who suffer from TMJ disorder, or those who grind their teeth.
Mouth Guard Candidates
Dr. Wilderman can let you know if you may be a candidate for a mouth guard. Generally, good candidates include:
- Athletes: Athletes are ideal candidates for mouth guards. Players who wear mouth guards while playing sports reduce the risk of injury to their teeth, lips, tongue, jaw, and face. New research even indicates that use of a mouth guard can decrease the severity of a concussion. Mouth guards are not just recommended for obvious sports such as boxing and hockey, but also for many other sports including surfing, soccer, baseball, and bicycling.
- Teeth grinders: Many patients may not realize that they grind their teeth while they sleep at night. If you frequently wake up with headaches, toothaches, or a tight feeling in your jaws, you may be grinding your teeth while you sleep. Dr. Wilderman can examine your teeth to see if there are signs of teeth grinding. Constant grinding can injure and weaken the teeth. For our patients in Philadelphia, dental crowns, root canals, or dental implants may become necessary when teeth are injured due to consistent grinding. Wearing a night guard can alleviate symptoms such as headaches and prevent further injury or weakening of the teeth.
- TMJ disorder sufferers: The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull. Pain or tenderness in this joint is known as TMJ disorder. Some likely causes of TMJ disorder include whiplash, grinding or clenching the teeth, and arthritis in the TMJ. People suffering TMJ disorder may experience pain, swelling, difficulty chewing, and limited function of the jaw. Wearing a mouth guard at night is one conservative approach to alleviating the symptoms of TMJ disorder.
Types of Mouth Guards
There are three basic types of mouth guards:
- Readymade mouth guards: These mouth guards are pre-made and can be bought at any athletic store. Readymade mouth guards are inexpensive but they are likely to be bulky and uncomfortable because they are not fitted to your mouth.
- Mouth formed mouth guards: You are able to buy these mouth guards and then form them to your teeth. Acrylic mouth guards provide a more comfortable fit but they may have an unpleasant taste or odor and they lose their flexibility over time. Thermoplastic mouth guards will not lose their flexibility but they are more bulky than acrylic mouth guards.
- Custom made mouth guards: For his patients who are candidates for the use of mouth guards, Dr. Wilderman offers custom made mouth guards. We will take impressions of your teeth and use these to create a custom mouth guard that will fit comfortably over your teeth. Because these mouth guards are custom made to fit your mouth, they are also less likely to interfere with speaking or breathing.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are in need of a mouth guard, schedule an appointment today. Dr. Bruce Wilderman can let you know if you are a candidate and give you more information about our custom made mouth guards.