Dental injuries are a very real danger, with nearly one-third of all adults having suffered from some type of oral trauma at least once in their lives. In addition to compromising the structural integrity of your teeth, oral injuries can also affect the neighboring soft tissues, including the gums, inner cheeks, lips, and even your brain. Fortunately, by using a custom mouthguard made by our Westchester dentist, you can prevent injury in many cases and preserve your health and your smile.
There are two main types of protective mouthguards: over-the-counter varieties and fully custom versions created individually by a dentist. Over-the-counter varieties can be either one-siz-fits-all or semi-customizable. The latter are also called “boil-and-bite” mouthguards, since they are “customized” by heating the mouthguard up and then biting it, which creates an impression of your teeth. Unfortunately, these mouthguards are much less precise and don’t take into account the rest of the person’s mouth, including the hard palate, gums, or tongue placement, which can create an uncomfortable and ineffective mouthguard experience.
On the other hand, customized mouthguards will fit you or your child’s mouth perfectly. The dentists at Advanced Dentistry of Scarsdale will talk with you about how a mouthguard could benefit you and which type would work best for your needs, and then will carefully take a series of dental impressions to sculpt a mold that will fit perfectly and stay comfortable. Here are just a few of the reasons mouthguards might be prescribed, and how they can help to fend off damage.
Patients who suffer from nighttime teeth grinding, or bruxism, are at a higher risk for dental fractures, worn teeth, oral decay, headaches, and neck and jaw pain. Mouthguards designed to prevent teeth grinding can keep your teeth safe, even when you are fast asleep.
Mouthguards can keep teeth from being knocked out during sports, ward off root and bone damage, and protect the neighboring soft tissues. In fact, because mouthguards spread out impact, stabilize the head and neck, and limit movement when people take direct hits to the jaw, mouthguards can even help to prevent sports-related concussions. A 2014 study showed that athletes who wore less-effective boil-and-bite mouthguards were more than twice as likely to suffer from traumatic brain injuries while playing sports, and that participants who wore custom mouthguards remained safer on the field.
People who suffer from sleep apnea are at a higher risk for a litany of medical conditions, including decreased sex drive, blood pressure issues, and even a higher risk of developing cancer. Although treatments such as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP machines, have been shown to be effective, many patients don’t tolerate this type of treatment well because it is invasive and embarrassing. However, mouthguards have been shown to be highly effective for mild to moderate sleep apnea, and they are much more user-friendly, portable, and comfortable.
Mouthguards designed to treat sleep apnea hold your jaw in a different position, which keeps the muscles and tissues of the throat from sagging as you sleep. This prevents your airway from closing off, which can keep you from waking up throughout the night. In addition to the documented benefits, research has shown that people who use oral devices to treat sleep apnea are much more likely to comply with treatment.
There are even mouthguards designed to ward off snoring. These guards work by changing the orientation of your jaw, propping open your airway and encouraging better breathing. There are snoring mouthpieces designed to accommodate a wide range of patient preferences, ranging from versions that are clear to hypoallergenic varieties for those with sensitive mouths. Anti-snoring mouthpieces are incredibly effective, and can help you and your partner get the sleep that you deserve.
If you suspect that you need a mouthguard, contact Advanced Dentistry of Scarsdale today.