Atlanta family dentist Dr. Maria Benefield emphasizes the benefits of preventive dental care, including protecting the teeth from damage either during play or as a result of teeth grinding with the use of a mouth guard or night guard.
Do You Need A Mouthguard?
There are a range of reasons for using a mouthguard to protect your teeth from damage. The two most common are teeth grinding and contact sports.
During routine preventive care visits, Dr. Benefield will look for the signs of wear that may indicate you are grinding your teeth. Teeth that appear worn on the biting surfaces, are chipped or cracked need to be addressed to avoid more complex problems or even tooth loss. Teeth grinding is often the underlying symptom of a bite disorder such as TMJ and conservative treatment involves the nightly use of a mouthguard to prevent teeth grinding.
Other common signs of a bite problem include:
- Frequent headaches
- Jaw pain
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Ear pain or feeling of fulness
- Difficulty chewing
If you or your child play contact sports, wearing a protective mouthguard is essential to avoid tooth damage or loss. While there are many over the counter options readily available, a custom fit sports mouth guard provides maximum, comfortable protection for teeth, gums and oral appliances such as braces. There are several sports that now require the use of a mouthguard.
Dr. Benefield will take impressions of your teeth and order a custom mouth guard that will fit snugly on your teeth, avoiding irritation of the gums and allowing you to speak and drink fluids with it in place. Studies have also shown that custom fit mouth guards can improve athletic endurance because the jaw does not remain clenched to keep it in place, wasting precious energy during play.
Teeth do not grow back– using a sports mouth guard will protect your natural smile and should be considered a part of your sporting equipment.