Robert Wilkoff DDS Blog

Dentistry Pennsylvania

How Can a Professional Mouth Guard Help You?

March 20, 2014 @ 01:19 PM — by rwdds

Philadelphia Mouth Guard UsesAlthough tooth decay and gum disease are the most common dental concerns, they are not the only dangers to a patient’s dental and overall health. For our patients in the Philadelphia and Huntingdon Valley area, we want to provide comprehensive solutions to all potential problems. One treatment option that may be overlooked by many patients is a professional mouth guard. This surprisingly versatile appliance can be used to treat a number of different risks to one’s well-being. Whether you are involved with sports or are suffering from sleep apnea or bruxism, consider the benefits of getting your own mouth guard at our family dentistry office.

The Benefits of a Custom Mouth Guard

If you’ve ever bought a stock, over-the-counter mouth guard, you know just how uncomfortable they can be. When the plastic or rubber trays are not formed to fit over your teeth, they offer minimal protection and are likely to move out of place. Even boil-and-bite products, which are meant to conform to your teeth, can only approximate their pattern.

With a professionally crafted mouth guard, you gain numerous benefits from a more precise fit:

  • Better protection
  • Increased comfort
  • Less likely to become loose
  • Improved speech

Mouth Guards for Physical Activity

Mouth guards are most commonly used in contact sports such as football, hockey, and wrestling. However, these are not the only sports that pose a risk of injury. For any physical activity in which sudden impact is possible, a mouth guard can be an invaluable yet simple method of protection. All it takes is one blow to the mouth for teeth to become chipped, cracked, damaged at the nerve, or lost altogether. By obtaining a customized mouth guard from your dentist, you can enjoy a better fit, the ability to speak clearly with teammates, and the satisfaction of knowing your teeth are well guarded.     

Mouth Guards for Bruxism

Bruxism is the habit of grinding one’s teeth, most notably while asleep. More severe cases can result in a variety of problems, including:

  • Chipped teeth
  • Enamel erosion
  • Damaged restorations
  • Toothaches
  • Headaches
  • TMJ disorders

Even milder cases can present these effects in time, while often going undiagnosed for many years beforehand. Depending on the cause and severity of bruxism, it may be at least partially treatable through an adjustment to one’s lifestyle. But as long as grinding persists, patients can wear a mouth guard at night (called a night guard) to keep teeth from coming in contact with one another. This not only prevents damage to teeth, but also alleviates pain and symptoms of TMJ disorders caused by bruxism. 

Mouth Guards for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s sleep is continuously disrupted due to interruptions in his or her breathing pattern. There are two distinct types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive: In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), breathing is made difficult by a blocked or obstructed airway, as often evidenced by snoring. This is usually caused by relaxed muscle tissues at the back of the throat, which fail to hold the airway open. OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea.
  • Central: Central sleep apnea (CSA) causes breathing to stop for up to 30 seconds at a time. This is caused by faulty signals between the brain and respiratory system.

Because OSA is caused physically, an oral appliance may be used to correct or alleviate it. Through the use of a mouth guard-like device called an occlusal splint, patients can alter jaw alignment and open up the airway, allowing for easier breathing throughout the night. Consequently, patients can achieve a better, easier, and quieter rest throughout the night.      

Is a Mouth Guard Right for You?

To learn more about the benefits of a customized mouth guard, schedule a consultation with Dr. Wilkoff. Don’t wait until these conditions damage your teeth - call or email us today.