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Dental Mouth Guard Uses

Danny O'Keefe D.D.S. May 31, 2013

Jackson Dental Mouth GuardsMouth guards are devices that protect the teeth and gums from injury. Jackson cosmetic dentist Danny O’Keefe prescribes mouth guards for patients who participate in contact sports in which the teeth and gums can be damaged, who grind their teeth or suffer from TMJ disorder, and who are using topical medication on their teeth.

Mouth Guard Uses

Patients who participate in contact sports, or sports in which mouth injury is a risk, should wear a mouth guard during athletic practice and events. These sports include rugby, football, baseball, basketball, and any other sport in which a piece of equipment, ball, or opponent may make physical contact with the mouth.

Patients suffering from teeth grinding, or bruxism, at night may be prescribed a mouth guard. This type of mouth guard keeps the jaw aligned in its proper place and prevents patients from moving their lower jaw or making contact between the upper and lower teeth. It is designed for comfort for long wear and allows patients to breathe easily during use.

Patients with a jaw dysfunction, called temporomandibular joint disorder, which causes soreness and discomfort because of tension and constant movement during sleep, may utilize a mouth guard. These mouth guards, also known as splints, can stabilize the jaw and allow it to relax while patients sleep.

Some mouth guards are utilized for the application of topical medicine or other substances on the teeth. These mouth guards are usually not worn over night, and their main goal is to prevent a liquid or paste, such as whitening gel, from spreading from the teeth they are supposed to cover.

Types of Mouth Guards

At Dr. O’Keefe’s Jackson restorative dentistry practice, he can recommend a mouth guard, or create a specialized splint or guard, to meet a patient’s specific needs. Mouth guards come in a variety of types.

  • Ready-made mouth guards are inexpensive and come in a standardized, one-size-fits-all shape. They can be purchased at sporting stores, department stores, and pharmacy stores. These types of mouth guards work well for patients who occasionally participate in contact sports or are participating in an activity with a high risk to the mouth area. They will not fit as snugly as other mouth guards, but offer protection.
  • Adaptable ready-made mouth guards, often called boil and bite mouth guards, are bought in stores like ready-made mouth guards. They come in a standard shape, but once heated, can be molded to more accurately fit a patient’s mouth. These types of mouth guards are often utilized for at-home whitening kits and sports activities. These are often made of a soft vinyl or plastic material.
  • Custom-made mouth guards are made from molds of a patient's teeth at a dentist’s office. They are used by professionals for regular sports activities, and more commonly for patients with a chronic condition, such as TMJ disorder or bruxism. They offer superior fit over the other types of mouth guards, but will generally have a higher cost. Certain mouth splints also fall within this category, and are made of a hard plastic that prevents the teeth and jaw from moving, grinding, and injury.

Mouth guards are a safe, removable treatment. For more information on each type of mouth guard, please contact Dr. O'Keefe's Jackson dentistry practice today.

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