When you think of an oral appliance, what comes to mind? Is it a mouthguard for athletes or a nightguard that can help with snoring? The truth is that there are many types of mouthguards available. Sports mouthguards and nightguards are the most common ones, but appliances for sleep apnea and snoring also exist. Today’s blog post will focus on why you should wear a mouthguard in order to protect your teeth!
A sports mouthguard protects all or most of the teeth from sports-related facial injuries. Some sports mouthguards are made to fit only over the upper teeth and gums, while others are made to fit over the top and bottom teeth. Oftentimes, it depends on the type of sport being played. Some reasons to wear a sports mouthguard include:
Protect your teeth from damage
While playing sports, a blow to the face can easily result in a fractured or chipped tooth. Wearing a sports mouthguard decreases the likelihood of getting your teeth accidentally damaged. When a tooth becomes damaged, it is also more likely to become infected if bacteria is able to enter the tooth.
Prevent tooth loss or intrusion
Just as a blow to the face could cause teeth to become chipped or cracked, it can also cause the teeth to become loose or be knocked out. A loose tooth may be able to be saved, however a knocked out tooth will usually need to be replaced. In some cases, a blow to the face can also cause the tooth to be driven down into the jawbone. This is known as intrusion and it can have its own set of complications.
Protects soft tissues
The soft tissues in your mouth can also become injured while playing sports. Certain types of sports mouthguards are made to cover the gums as well as the teeth. If you have braces, then there are also special mouthguards that can cover your braces so that you avoid cutting the insides of your lips during sports play.
Lessen chance of injuring others
Contact sports are aptly named for the amount of close contact that players have with one another. In these cases, wearing a mouthguard not only protects you, but your opponent as well. Sports mouthguards encase the teeth, which makes it less likely to accidentally cut someone with your teeth or clash mouths.
A nightguard is a device that protects the teeth and jaw from nighttime bruxism (a condition in which grinding or clenching of the teeth occurs during sleep). It can also protect against cracks, fractures, and other injuries to your mouth. Some reasons to wear a nightguard include:
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are both conditions that can be caused by a misalignment of the upper and lower jaw. Snoring is caused by an obstruction of airflow while sleeping due to collapsed soft tissue at the back of your throat or tongue. This collapse causes vibrations that result in snoring. Night Guards are used to prevent the airway from collapsing, which in turn helps with snoring and sleep apnea.
Prevent damage from grinding teeth at night
Grinding your teeth causes wear over time on both the tooth enamel as well as the gum tissue surrounding your teeth. Over time, this can lead to a loss of the enamel as well as receding gums which could then result in cavities or bacteria entering into your gum line. Not to mention that regularly grinding your teeth at night can result in the development of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
Prevent damage from clenching at night
Clenching and grinding are different types of behavior that can occur while sleeping. Clenching is when two teeth are pressed together tightly. Clenching can also damage the tooth enamel and gum tissue, as well as cause your jaw muscles to become sore in the morning.
Wearing a mouthguard or night guard is an easy way to protect your teeth and overall oral health. They come in different shapes and sizes depending on the sport you play, but they all serve the same purpose: protecting your teeth from damage while playing sports. There are also mouthguards that can help with snoring or teeth grinding. To determine if you should be wearing a mouthguard and what type is appropriate for you, schedule a consultation with your West Palm Beach dentist today.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.