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Mouth Guard
Palo Alto, CA

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Close up of a simple mouthguard being held up by an excited white woman.Sports and physical activities, while enjoyable and beneficial for health, also pose a risk of injury, particularly to the mouth and face. Impact, collisions, and falls can result in various dental and oral injuries, including chipped or broken teeth, knocked-out teeth, cuts to the lips or tongue, and even jaw fractures. These injuries not only cause physical pain and discomfort but also require costly dental treatment and may have long-term consequences on oral health. This is where a mouth guard comes in, offering mouth protection. Let's take a look at what it is, its type, and how it protects your oral health.

What Is a Mouth Guard?

A mouth guard, also known as a dental guard or gum shield, is a protective device worn over the teeth and gums to prevent injury during sports or other activities that involve potential impacts to the face or mouth. It's usually made of flexible materials like rubber or plastic, molded to fit comfortably over the teeth and gums.

Purposes of Wearing a Mouth Guard

Protection from Impact

One of the primary functions of a mouth guard is to absorb and distribute the force of impact from blows to the face or mouth. This can help prevent injuries such as broken teeth, lip lacerations, and damage to the mouth's soft tissues.

Prevention of Dental Injuries

Mouth guards provide a cushioning effect that reduces the risk of dental injuries, such as tooth fractures, dislocations, and avulsions (complete tooth loss). By absorbing the impact of a blow, a mouth guard helps to minimize the risk of damage to the teeth.

Protection Against Concussions

While mouth guards primarily offer mouth protection, some research suggests they may also help reduce the risk of concussion by absorbing and dispersing the force of impact from blows to the jaw and head. However, more studies are needed to fully understand the relationship between mouth guards and concussion prevention.

Jaw Protection

Mouth guards can also provide some protection to the jaw by helping stabilize it and reducing the risk of jaw fractures or dislocations in certain situations.

Types of Mouth Guards

Stock Mouth Guard

This is a pre-formed and ready-to-wear mouth guard available at most sporting goods stores. It is inexpensive and does not require customization. However, it often provides poor fit and limited protection as it cannot be adjusted to fit individual mouth shapes.

Boil and Bite Mouth Guard

This mouth guard is made from thermoplastic material that softens when boiled. Users place the softened guard in their mouth, allowing it to mold around their teeth and gums by biting down. It offers a better fit and protection compared to stock mouth guards.

Custom-Fitted Mouth Guards

Dental professionals make custom mouth guards based on impressions of the wearer's teeth. They offer the best fit and protection as they are tailored to a person's mouth anatomy. These mouth guards are more expensive than stock and boil-and-bite varieties but provide superior comfort and protection. Custom-fitted mouth guards are commonly used in contact sports and by people with bruxism or TMJ disorders.

Night Guard

A night guard, also known as occlusal guard, is designed to protect teeth from the effects of bruxism (teeth grinding) during sleep. It is typically made of soft or hard acrylic material and covers either the upper or lower teeth. Night guards prevent tooth wear, jaw pain, and headaches caused by grinding and clenching.

Orthodontic Mouth Guard

An orthodontic mouth guard is specifically designed for people undergoing orthodontic treatment, such as braces or retainers. It provides protection against oral injuries during sports or physical activities while accommodating orthodontic appliances. This mouth guard is usually custom-made by dental professionals to ensure proper fit and function.

Professional Sports Mouth Guard

A professional sports guard is a specialized mouth guard commonly used by athletes in high-impact sports like football, hockey, and boxing. It is designed to withstand heavy impacts and protect against traumatic injuries to the teeth, lips, tongue, and jaw. A sports mouth guard is typically custom-made for individual athletes to ensure maximum comfort and protection.

Athletic Mouth Guard

An athletic mouth guard is similar to a professional sports mouth guard but is more widely available and affordable. It is suitable for recreational athletes participating in various sports, including basketball, soccer, baseball, and martial arts. An athletic mouth guard comes in different designs, including single-layer, dual-layer, and laminated options, offering varying levels of protection.

How Mouth Guards Prevent Bruxism

Bruxism, commonly known as teeth grinding or clenching, is a condition where people involuntarily grind or clench their teeth, often during sleep. This can lead to various dental issues, including worn tooth enamel, tooth sensitivity, jaw pain, headaches, and even temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Mouth guards act as a cushion between the upper and lower teeth, preventing them from grinding against each other directly. This cushioning effect helps to reduce the amount of force exerted on the teeth, protecting them from wear and damage.

How Mouth Guards Offer Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Support

TMJ is an essential joint in the human body, responsible for connecting the jawbone to the skull. It plays a significant role in various functions like chewing, speaking, and facial expressions.

A mouth guard helps align the jaw properly and stabilize the temporomandibular joint. Misalignment of the jaw joint can contribute to TMJ disorders, causing symptoms such as pain, clicking or popping sounds, and limited jaw movement. By providing a stable and properly aligned bite surface, mouth guards offer TMJ protection, reducing stress on the surrounding muscles, thus promoting comfort and function.

In conclusion, a mouth guard is an essential protective equipment for people engaging in various physical activities, particularly contact sports. From preventing dental injuries to minimizing the risk of concussions, mouth guards offer various benefits that cannot be overlooked.

Contact Us Today!

Off-the-shelf mouth guards may seem convenient, but they often fail to provide adequate protection. Palo Alto Oral Health offers custom mouth guards that provide superior protection against impact and reduce the risk of dental injuries. To book an appointment for a fitting, call (650) 321-9693.

Thank you for trusting us with your oral health. Give us a call at (650) 321-9693 .

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2875 Middlefield Rd Suite #1
Palo Alto, CA 94306-2548

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Palo Alto Oral Health | paloaltooralhealth.com | (650) 321-9693
2875 Middlefield Rd Suite #1, Palo Alto, CA 94306
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Mouth Guards Palo Alto CA
Protect your smile during sports & activities. Learn about mouth guard types & benefits. Get a custom-fit guard for optimal safety. Contact us now!
Palo Alto Oral Health, 2875 Middlefield Rd Suite #1, Palo Alto, CA 94306 / (650) 321-9693 / paloaltooralhealth.com / 7/18/2024 / Tags: dentist palo alto /