At 38th Street Dental in Austin, TX, our team offers a wide range of preventative, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry treatments to help our patients achieve and maintain optimal oral health. Today, our team will explore dental mouth guard candidates, and discuss how a custom oral appliance can help meet your unique dental needs and protect your smile for years to come.
About Mouth Guards
Dental mouth guards, also known as oral appliances, come in a variety of styles based on the specific needs of the patient. Similar to a retainer, a mouth guard is designed to fit comfortably over your teeth.
Custom appliances can be crafted to treat bruxism (teeth grinding) and TMJ disorder, as well as protect the smiles of athletes on the court or field. We will explore a few of these reasons in the sections below.
Dental Mouth Guards for Bruxism
If left untreated, bruxism can lead to a wide array of oral health complications. Chronic teeth grinding can cause chips, cracks, fractures, and enamel erosion, making your teeth more susceptible to decay and other forms of dental damage.
To address this issue, a custom night guard can be worn during sleep (and sometimes during the day, if necessary) to protect the teeth from excessive bite forces.
Dental Mouth Guards for TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder is a common condition that, if left untreated, can cause chronic jaw pain, earaches, headaches, facial nerve pain, clicking and popping of the jaw, neck pain, shoulder pain, and back pain.
In some cases, TMJ disorder can be caused or exacerbated by bruxism. However, this is not always a factor, as it can also be caused by other issues, such as arthritis, stress, or the erosion of the cushioning disc.
In many cases, this condition can be treated with oral appliance therapy. A custom mouth guard can protect the teeth and gently place the jaws in a more favorable position, reducing the stress on the TMJ.
Dental Mouth Guards for Athletes
Every athlete who participates in contact sports should wear a mouth guard during practices and games. A large majority of dental trauma cases are sports-related. Wearing an athletic mouth guard is a simple and effective way to protect your smile and prevent the need for invasive restorative treatments. We recommend using a mouth guard if you participate in:
- Mixed martial arts
Custom vs. Store-Bought Mouth Guards
When it comes to dental mouth guards, there are several options available. In fact, nearly every department store, sporting goods store, and pharmacy carries them.
It can be tempting to purchase a boil-and-bite mouth guard, as it seems more convenient than paying a visit to the dentist’s office. However, these appliances are bulky and cumbersome. For this reason, many patients fail to wear them routinely.
A custom oral appliance fabricated by your dentist provides a proper, comfortable fit, and can last for several years with appropriate care and maintenance.
Contact Us to Learn More
If you are experiencing the symptoms of bruxism or TMJ disorder, or if you are interested in an athletic mouth guard, schedule a consultation at 38th Street Dental today. Our doctors can assess your teeth and gums, identify the source of the problem, and recommend an effective treatment plan. To reach us, call us at (512) 458-6222 or contact us online anytime.