By drscotto@drscotto.com
May 08, 2014
Category: General Dentistry
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Schenectady mouth guardWe all want our smiles to last. The emotional, social, and professional benefits that stem from strong, gorgeous teeth are immeasurable. If there were a preventive step you could take today to see healthier teeth down the line, wouldn’t you choose to take it? That prevention is exactly what a mouth guard can offer. Depending on your habits and your dental needs, a guard could protect your enamel and keep your beautiful smile in place. Read on to learn more about whether a mouth guard has a role to play in your life.

When A Mouth Guard Makes Sense

The phrase “mouth guard” refers to any kind of apparatus that fits into your mouth to protect some aspect of your dental health. Different guards vary to fit the patient’s individual needs. They are typically made of plastic.

In general, a guard is recommended when your mouth is exposed to the potential for damage. What does this mean, exactly? If there’s a chance that your teeth could be harmed, then it’s wise to wear the guard before that can occur. Potential sources of dental trauma include teeth grinding, physical activity, and TMJ disorders. Different types of mouth guards accommodate the forces behind each of these problems. By protecting your enamel, stabilizing your jaw, or manipulating oral tissues in another way, a guard allows your to take control of the issue.

Common types of mouth guards include:

  1. Grinding Guard – Bruxism is a common problem among adults. Chronic teeth grinding and clenching affects quality of sleep, causes gums to recede, breaks existing dental work, and damages enamel. It most often takes place during the night, when you aren’t conscious of your jaw muscle contractions. Because grinding can be aggravated by stress, and because it’s an unconscious action, it’s tough to take control of your bruxing. A mouth guard will fit over the teeth, protecting them from the forces of grinding.
  2. Sports Guard – During athletic activity, your teeth are likely to get jostled or bumped. A guard protects your teeth from catastrophes, and can prevent the need for restorative surgery after an accident on the field.
  3. TMJ Splint – A TMJ disorder takes hold when your jaw muscles routinely behave in harmful ways. By stabilizing the lower jaw, a TMJ guard protects the jaw joint from becoming inflamed, exhausted, or damaged. This type of guard usually connects the upper and lower jaws to control jaw movement.
  4. Sleep Apnea Guard – A mouth guard can actually help assuage the effects of snoring and sleep apnea. Some types of sleep apnea can be treated with a guard that pulls the tongue slightly forward, leaving the airway unobstructed. 

Occlusal Guards Available at Our Schenectady Office

Schenectady mouth guardWhile patients choose to get over-the-counter (OTC) guards, we recommend custom-made guards. These are made by a dental lab from impressions of your teeth, and fit perfectly. Patients feel comfortable when wearing custom guards, and the guards are likely to be more effective at protecting against the target problem. A recent study published in General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s clinical journal, actually found that athletes using OTC guards were more likely to experience mild concussions than those wearing custom guards. Why not protect your teeth (and your brain!) as well as possible?

If you’re interested in getting a custom guard, schedule an appointment. Dr. Scotto will examine your mouth and determine the proper guard type. We will then take impressions to make a precise, well-fitting guard. Don’t hesitate to take the best possible care of your teeth, your jaw, and your well-being.

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Robert M. Scotto, D.D.S.
615 Union St.
Schenectady, NY 12305
518-374-9770

  

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