When to Consider a Mouth Guard

 When to Consider a Mouth Guard

Mouth guards are aptly named. After all, their primary purpose is to protect your mouth from injury or damage. The key to enjoying their benefits is to know when you need a guard and which type will benefit you.

As a leading preventive care dentist in Oregon City, Oregon, Julie Strauss, DMD, offers two primary types of mouth guards for patients at Strauss Dental, helping every patient get round-the-clock protection from potential damage. Here’s how to tell if you could benefit from one (or both) of these options.

Sports or “daytime” mouth guards

Mouth guards worn during the day are sometimes called sports guards, but that’s a misnomer. While you can — and should — absolutely wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth from sports-related impacts, these guards are beneficial during other activities where you can get struck in the mouth or face. 

Sports guards are specifically designed for your activity. Buying an off-the-shelf mouth guard can leave your mouth vulnerable to various impact-related injuries, including broken teeth, knocked out teeth, and other serious problems.

Sports guards prevent these problems for kids, teens, and adults. They also help you avoid the discomfort of oral injuries and the potentially complex treatments to repair them once they occur.

Occlusal or “nighttime” mouth guards

Occlusal is the medical term for how your teeth come together when you bite or close your mouth. Occlusal damage happens when that contact causes wear and tear on one or more teeth. 

Two of the biggest causes of occlusal damage are grinding (also called bruxism) and clenching, habits that are surprisingly common during sleep. Of course, because they happen while you’re sleeping, you can’t stop yourself — and you might not even be aware you’re doing it.

Without treatment, grinding and clenching can cause serious bite problems, tooth damage, tooth loss, and chronic headaches and jaw pain. A night guard cushions your teeth while you sleep, preventing painful symptoms and damage caused by grinding and clenching.

Mouth guard basics

Although each type of guard you wear is for different reasons, the way Dr. Strauss designs your guard is similar. Since you need to wear your guard on a regular basis in order to enjoy its benefits, Dr. Strauss makes comfort a priority.

Every guard begins with a dental impression of your teeth — a 3D model that acts as a “stand-in” for your teeth while your guard is being made. The dental impression ensures your guard will hug the contours of your teeth, making it comfortable to wear. 

These impressions are sent to a lab specializing in state-of-the-art oral care appliances, including mouth guards. Once the guard is ready, you’ll come back in for a final adjustment so you can enjoy maximum comfort and protection for your teeth.

Our guards consist of lightweight material that’s strong enough to protect your teeth without being “clunky” or heavy. This combination of superior comfort and protection is a big reason why a mouth guard from your dentist is far better and more effective than an over-the-counter guard that wears out quickly and feels more cumbersome.

Protect your beautiful smile

Preventive dentistry includes various treatments to prevent oral health problems and preserve your gorgeous smile. To learn more about mouth guards and other steps you can take to protect your teeth and gums, call 503-656-2139 or book an appointment online with the team at Strauss Dental today.

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