The teeth play a very important role in oral functions and help to maintain the structure of the mouth. Unfortunately, by nature, the mouth and teeth are exposed to continual wear and tear that make them vulnerable to damage, decay, and injury. When this type of damage does occur, restorative dentistry treatments can rebuild tooth structure to restore strength and function to the mouth. While these treatments are effective, it is always our primary goal to prevent the need for such treatment to begin with. One of the most effective tools in protecting the teeth from injury or damage from excessive force or abrasion is custom-fit dental mouth guards. For our patients in Shreveport, mouth guards can be very beneficial to a patient’s oral and general health.
The Many Uses of Mouth Guards
If you are not an athlete, you may think you have no need for a mouth guard. However, sports and athletics is just one of the many uses of mouth guards. The custom-fit mouth guards offered by our dentist at Shreveport Bossier Family Dental Care offer benefits that extend far beyond just protection during sporting events. Below are some of the many ways in which mouth guards are used by our dental patients:
- Protection from injury: It is important to wear a mouth guard while participating in sporting events. Sports are one of the leading causes of mouth injuries, including cuts to the soft tissues of the mouth and permanent damage to the teeth. Custom-fit mouth guards offer the most reliable protection to athletes, whether they are playing high-impact sports such as boxing or football, or whether they are participating is a solo activity such as bike riding or skateboarding.
- Prevention of clenching and grinding: Teeth grinding and clenching are oral habits that can cause serious damage to the teeth. Because these habits are often performed while the patient sleeps, most have little control over stopping this harmful habit. A dental mouth guard may be the solution. By wearing a mouth guard at night, patients can prevent the teeth from clenching or grinding together, thus protecting them from overly excessive wear and tear.
- Treatment of TMJ disorder: TMJ disorder has many possible causes, but in many cases it is associated with grinding, clenching, or a misaligned jaw. A mouth guard can help in all of these cases. Not only can a mouth guard prevent clenching and grinding (as noted above), but it also holds the jaw and teeth in proper alignment. For many patients, the use of a mouth guard is enough to ease the uncomfortable symptoms of TMJ disorder.
- Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea: Sleep apnea, a condition in which the patient stops breathing frequently throughout the night, can disrupt sleep and affect a person’s general health. While some cases of sleep apnea require the use of a breathing machine at night, cases of obstructive sleep apnea may be adequately treated with a mouth guard. A mouth guard can align the teeth and jaws and ensure that a patient’s airways stay open while they sleep. For some, this can significantly improve problems associated with sleep apnea.
Schedule an Appointment
Although mouth guards are extremely beneficial to athletes of all ages, there are many other patients who could benefit from the use of a custom-fit mouth guard. If you suffer from any of the above conditions and would like to know if a mouth guard is right for you, we invite you to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced dentists at Shreveport Bossier Family Dental Care. We look forward to hearing from you!