Mouth Guards in Traverse City, MI
Mouth guards serve a variety of functions to improve your dental health, protect your teeth and jaw, and prevent unhealthy habits such as teeth grinding. A mouth guard may also be called a bite guard or a night guard, but each type of mouthpiece serves a specific function. Some guards, particularly sports guards, can be custom-made to fit your mouth or purchased in a “one size fits all” form that can be altered slightly to fit.
Night Guards for Bruxism
A night guard is used to prevent teeth grinding or bruxism. The night guard is acrylic and fits over the teeth, holding them slightly apart so you cannot grind your teeth when sleeping. A night guard can alleviate the headaches and earaches commonly caused by bruxism. It also prevents excess wear and tear on your teeth that can lead to serious damage, including cracked, worn, and loose teeth. We custom design each patient’s nightguard using digital imaging and mouth impressions for a precise fit.
Bite Guards for Occlusal Therapy
The way your teeth fit together to chew is called occlusion. Occlusal therapy using a bite guard improves the way your upper and lower teeth meet and relaxes the temporomandibular joint. We may recommend a bite guard if you have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) or if you grind your teeth due to an overly tight jaw. Wearing a nightly bite guard relaxes the jaw joint muscles and keeps the teeth slightly apart to prevent clenching. A bit guard for occlusal therapy must be custom-fitted in our office to ensure it comfortably holds the upper and lower jaw and temporomandibular joint in place and prevents clenching.
Mouth Guards for Sports
More than five million teeth are lost due to sports injuries every year. Most people who lose at least one tooth while participating in sports also sustain trauma to their jawbone, gums, lips, and soft tissues of the mouth. Wearing a mouth guard during sporting activities dramatically reduces the risk of serious injury or tooth loss.
Mouth guards for sports are available in three forms. You can buy a generic style mouthguard at most sporting goods stores. You may also find adjustable mouth guards you can reshape to fit better after boiling the mouthguard to soften the material. We do not recommend stock mouth guards because they are bulky, do not fit well over your teeth, and make it difficult to speak. They also do not provide much in the way of protection for your teeth and gums.
A “boil and shape” mouth guard is boiled, removed from the water, and gently shaped around your teeth while still warm. You end up with a snugger fit, but it is not custom, and your guard is still quite bulky.
At Harborside Dental, we recommend all athletes, particularly teens, wear a custom-fitted mouth guard for contact sports. A sports mouth guard is also a good idea if you participate in gymnastics, skateboarding, and other activities that could result in a facial injury. A mouth guard fitting over the upper teeth is sufficient protection for most athletes. Still, individuals with braces or other oral health concerns may need a sports guard for both the upper and lower teeth. A custom-fitted sports mouth guard protects against broken, chipped, or lost teeth, damage to the gums and mouth, and nerve damage.
Caring for My Mouth Guard
Any bite or mouth guard requires proper care and cleaning to prevent infection and maintain a good fit. Follow these simple steps to care for your guard:
- Rinse your mouth guard with cool water or mouthwash whenever you put it in your mouth or remove it.
- Brush daily with a soft-bristle brush and mild soap or non-abrasive toothpaste.
- Store your mouth guard in the case provided, which should be rigid and ventilated. If your guard is acrylic, keep it in clean, fresh water.
- Avoid placing your mouth guard in hot water, sunlight, or other situations where extreme temperatures might warp the guard.
- Have your dentist regularly check the mouth guard to ensure there are no concerns and that it has not become overly worn.
- Call our office immediately if you lose or break your mouth guard.
Whether you suffer from morning headaches due to bruxism or your child plays high school sports, we create mouth guards to protect your teeth and oral health quickly and at a reasonable price. Drs. Kozelko and Krull use the latest innovations to precision design each patient’s mouth guard, then have it crafted in our in-office dental lab. Contact us at Harborside Dental Phone Number 231-946-0207 or use our online form to schedule a consultation. We are happy to explain the various types of night, bite, and mouth guards and determine which is right for you.
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