The outer surface of the teeth is a hard material known as enamel. The enamel is the tooth’s natural defense against damage, infection, and other oral health problems. Unfortunately, enamel is not invincible, and when it wears down, the teeth can become weak and unhealthy. These teeth can benefit from restorative dentistry services to repair tooth damage and restore oral health. However, in an ideal world, the teeth would be protected before any of this damage even occurs. While oral hygiene habits and professional dental care are helpful in preserving oral health, some patients need a little bit more assistance to protect the teeth. For many patients, a mouth guard can offer that extra bit of protection. Mouth guard candidates at our Staten Island practice can receive a custom-fit piece from Dr. Alex or Jason Hecht to prevent injury or damage to the teeth.
Do I Need a Mouth Guard?
Many patients assume that, unless they participate in aggressive athletic activities, they really do not have a need for a dental mouth guard. This is why a number of our patients are surprised when Dr. Hecht suggests the use of a custom-fit mouth guard. A mouth guard can be worn during athletic activities, but it can also be worn while a patient sleeps in order to protect the teeth and hold the jaw in proper alignment. This is an oral appliance that can benefit a number of our patients. Ideal candidates for a dental mouth guard include the following:
- Athletes: A mouth guard is an important piece of athletic equipment. Athletes who wear mouth guards while playing sports or participating in other athletic events are less likely to damage the teeth or other soft tissues of the mouth if a blow to the head or a fall does occur. Custom-fit mouth guards are ideal for athletes because they provide the close fit that is ideal for ultimate protection.
- Teeth grinders: Patients who grind their teeth or clench their jaw are good candidates for a mouth guard. While grinding and clenching often occurs while a patient sleeps, this is a harmful habit that can significantly compromise the teeth. A dental mouth guard that is worn at night serves as a physical barrier between the teeth and prevents abrasion of tooth enamel.
- TMJ sufferers: Temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder is a condition that describes issues with the temporomandibular joint. This can limit the movement of the jaw and cause jaw pain and headaches. Many patients who suffer from TMJ disorder have found some relief from the use of a mouth guard, which holds the jaw in proper alignment as a patient sleeps.
- Patients with obstructive sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common forms of sleep apnea. This condition disturbs a patients breathing while they sleep due to an obstruction of the airways, often because of a collapse in the throat muscles. Because a mouth guard keeps the jawbone properly aligned, it can also help to keep the airways and throat open. Many patients with obstructive sleep apnea find that a dental mouth guard is useful in managing this condition.
Patients who have experienced any of the above conditions should meet with Dr. Hecht as soon as possible to discuss the benefits of a custom mouth guard.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are interested in protecting the strength and health of your teeth and would like to find out if a custom mouth guard is right for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Hecht at your earliest convenience. We look forward to hearing from you!