The Importance of Mouthguards to Protect Your Teeth and When to Wear Them

Jun 01, 2023

What Are Mouthguards?

They are protective devices that cover the teeth and gums to prevent injuries to the teeth, gums, and jawbone during high-contact sports or intense physical activities. Mouthguards in Austin, TX, typically feature soft, flexible materials like silicone or rubber. Dentists can customize mouthguards to fit the unique shape and alignment of your teeth and mouth for maximum comfort and protection.

When Are Mouthguards Most Necessary?

At Lifetime Smiles Cosmetic Dentistry, we have employed mouthguards for different functions, primality for athletes in various sports, including football, basketball, hockey, lacrosse, boxing, and wrestling. However, we also tailor mouth protectors for non-sport activities, such as weightlifting, clenching, or grinding.

​Preventing Dental Injuries with Mouthguards

Mouthguards are instrumental as preventive dental appliances for reducing the risk of tooth fractures, dislocations, and other dental injuries. They can also help prevent cuts and bruises to the lips, tongue, and cheeks.

Technically, mouthguards prevent such dental problems by absorbing and distributing the force of impact on the dental area. Therefore, when you receive a blow to the face or jaw when wearing a mouthguard, it cushions the impact and helps to dissipate the force, reducing the severity of the outcome.

Mouthguards also protect the soft tissues, such as the lips, tongue, and cheeks, from cuts and bruises occurring during physical activity. A well-fitted mouthguard covers the teeth and gums to reduce the risk of injuries to the jaw and temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

Dentists near you will advocate for custom-fitted mouthguards since they are particularly effective in preventing dental injuries. They usually fit your mouth shape perfectly, providing a comfortable and secure fit. Besides, if a dentist in South Austin customizes your mouthguard, it hardly dislodges during physical activity.

​Reducing the Impact of Teeth Grinding with a Mouthguard

A mouthguard can successfully reduce the impact of teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. Bruxism is a chronic condition that significantly damages teeth over time. Some damage to teeth includes wear and tear, cracks, and fractures. It can also lead to jaw pain, headaches, and other uncomfortable symptoms.

However, not just any mouthguard can protect your teeth from the effects of bruxism. Instead, dentists in South Austin will design a mouthguard specifically for bruxism. Such an appliance is commonly called a night guard, protecting teeth from the force of grinding and clenching by providing a barrier between the upper and lower teeth. The night protector cushions the teeth and distributes the grinding force, reducing the impact and preventing further damage.

Additionally, a night guard for bruxism can help relax the muscles in the jaw and reduce tension, which often contributes to teeth grinding and clenching. When your jaw is more comfortable and relaxed, you experience reduced frequency and severity of teeth grinding.

​How to Wear and Care for Your Mouthguard

Wearing and caring for your mouthguard properly is crucial for maximum protection and longevity of the device. The wear and Care instructions may differ slightly, depending on the type and material of the mouthguard. Here are some tips for wearing and caring for your oral appliance:

  1. Wear your mouthguard as directed by your dentist – some should be worn during all contact sports, while others are ideal for nighttime only.
  2. Ensure your mouthguard fits securely over your teeth and covers your gums. Bite down gently to ensure a snug fit.
  3. Avoid chewing on or biting down your mouthguard, as it can damage and reduce effectiveness.
  4. After use, rinse your mouthguard with cool water and a mild soap or toothpaste. Do not use hot water as it can warp the mouthguard.
  5. Remove your mouth protector when eating and also when drinking hot fluids.
  6. Store your mouthguard in a ventilated container to dry completely between uses. Do not leave it in direct sunlight or a hot car. The high temperatures can warp the mouthguard.
  7. Regularly inspect your mouthguard for signs of wear and tear so you can replace it if necessary.

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