If you're an athlete or you grind your teeth during sleep, your dentist may have recommended a mouthguard, but do you really need one? How do they protect your teeth? Our Edmonton dentists explain what you need to know.
What does a mouthguard do?
If you engage in high-contact activities or play sports that could result in you taking a hit to the mouth, or grind your teeth at night, wearing a custom-fit mouthguard can prevent serious dental injuries - and a visit to Emergency Dental Clinics.
Also sometimes called a night guard, mouth shield or mouth protector, the purpose of a mouthguard is to protect your teeth from fracture or other major damage (or lessen it) if you're hit in the face. For people who grind their teeth, they can protect the teeth from deterioration or injury.
They accomplish this by spreading the impact out, reducing it across each area of the teeth. The mouthguard’s soft material is designed to absorb some of the force.
That said, this dental appliance can’t do its job if it's not in your mouth at the time of an accident or during the night if you grind our teeth while sleeping.
And because all it takes is a second for an injury to happen in sports like football, hockey, boxing, martial arts, rugby, lacrosse and others, we can never tell when we’ll need that protection for our teeth.
Wearing a Mouthguard
You might not believe you need a mouth shield for your sport or think you can anticipate danger and keep yourself out of harm’s way. Perhaps you have been trying to train yourself out of your grinding habit.
You might even be self-conscious about your appearance while using a mouthguard and being able to speak or breathe while wearing it. And, you don’t want to be any different or perceived as less tough than your teammates! All of these are common objections to wearing a mouthguard. We’re here to present another perspective on wearing a mouthguard and offer some information on how it can protect your smile.
You might be wondering, “Do mouthguards really protect teeth?” Our answer to this is a resounding “yes!” Our dentists have seen the unfortunate injuries that can happen when patients have forgotten to wear a mouthguard, or haven’t gotten around to getting a custom mouthguard fitted specifically for them.
Why is it important to wear a mouthguard?
Here are some reasons why our dentists recommend wearing a mouthguard when you play sports and activities that have a potential for high impact or injury.
1. Mouthguards Protect Against Knocked Out Teeth
A knocked out tooth can be a painful dental emergency - one you don’t want to take you out of the game. Plus, you’ll need to come in for an appointment as soon as possible to find out your options for saving your tooth or replacing it. By wearing a mouthguard, you can increase your chances of keeping your teeth even if you take a hit.
2. Mouthguards Protect Against Tooth Fractures
Preventing tooth fracture is one of the most important functions of a mouthguard. If a fracture does occur due to teeth grinding or taking a hit to the mouth while playing sports, a dentist may be able to save the tooth.
3. Mouthguards Protect Against Tooth Displacement
Whether you’re wearing a mouthguard can mean the difference between a tooth being fractured or displaced.
If you’re wearing your mouthguard properly when the impact happens, your teeth will be cushioned. Because a mouthguard distributes force across all your teeth, it may mean that one tooth is saved from a crushing blow.
4. Mouthguards Protect Against Injuries to Soft Tissues
If you’re playing baseball or soccer and bite your lip or inner cheek when you take a fall, you could need stitches to repair the damage. This dental emergency can be prevented by using a mouthguard to cover the sharp surfaces of your teeth. Your tongue, lips, cheek, and soft tissues will be protected.
5. Mouthguards Protect Against Jaw Fractures
Jaw fractures can be another painful dental emergency that can occur when athletes are hit in the head. If your teeth make contact with one another, jaw injuries and fractures are a real risk.
However, having a layer of plastic between your teeth to take the impact can prevent your jaw from fracturing. The mouthguard can serve as padding. This can avoid the need for major surgery (after which you’ll need to eat a diet of soft foods).
Our Dentists at Emergency Dental Clinics Can Help Repair Damaged Teeth
While we recommend wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth when you play sports (or while sleeping, if necessary) sometimes accidents happen. In these cases, our dentists are here evenings, weekends and holidays to treat dental emergencies.