If there was one small, completely non-invasive and readily available device that you could wear to protect yourself from oral sports-related injuries and concussions and even from symptoms of sleep bruxism, sleep apnea and even temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, you’d want to know about that, right? Read on, because one answer to all those issues may be a custom-fit mouth guard.
While there’s no disputing the physical, social and emotional benefits of leading an active lifestyle at any age, participating in physical recreational activities comes with some risks, too. Oral injuries and concussions are among the most common consequences of participation in recreational sports and other physical activities.
Oral injuries and even concussions can be prevented or at least be rendered less serious by wearing a mouth guard while participating in sports. Here’s what you need to know about mouth guards in Chestermere, and how they protect the mouths of young athletes and more.
What kind of mouth guards are available?
There are three primary types of available mouth guards in Chestermere: stock, “boil-and-bite,” and custom. We will briefly review each type, particularly from the perspective of protecting children (but the principles are the same).
Stock mouth guards
Stock mouth guards are the opposite of getting custom mouth guards near you. Stock guards are one size fits all — albeit in different sizes — units that you purchase off the shelf. They are not custom fit to any athlete’s mouth.
Every person’s mouth and the location of their teeth in their jaws are different. Stock mouth guards designed to fit the common denominator within a size range will provide minimal protection for the simple reason that they won’t fit. To compensate for that lack of fit, athletes may bite firmly down on a loose stock mouth guard to hold it in place. Doing so compromises your ability to speak and breathe, and forces your jaw and teeth into an unnatural and stressful position. That may increase, rather than decrease, the risk of oral injury.
“Boil-and-bite” mouth guards
Boil-and-bite mouth guards can be purchased at sporting goods stores, and are typically made of inexpensive rubber that softens and becomes pliable under high heat. To customize it to your needs, you boil it in water, then bite down into the softened material. In principle, it’s similar to making a mould in the dentist’s office. As the rubber cools, the impression you make in the mouth guard will be maintained.
While boil-and-bite mouth guards offer more protection than a stock mouth guard because they’re at least customized to the athlete’s mouth, they’re infamously uncomfortable and are known to tear easily. If you’re a parent looking to protect your child, the last thing you want to rely on is an uncomfortable mouth guard that your child probably won’t wear consistently.
Customized mouth guards
Because they are more comfortable and provide superior protection — as long as they fit properly — the adult and pediatric dentists at East Chestermere Dental recommend that everyone choosing a mouth guard wear a customized version rather than any over-the-counter option.
A dentist in Chestermere can create a custom sports mouth guard that will be comfortable and provide all the necessary protection for your child’s teeth while ensuring your child can breathe properly. Your dentist can craft a mouth guard that will even protect your child if they wear braces. As your child grows and the shape of her mouth and jaw changes — or her braces are taken off, for example — ask a dentist near you to confirm that her mouth guard still fits properly to protect her teeth.
Even if you’re not the parent of a young athlete, but someone who suffers symptoms of sleep apnea, sleep (or waking bruxism) or TMJ disorders, ask your dentist in Chestermere if mouth guards might help protect your health and improve your daily life.