A mouth guard provides protection to the teeth and masticatory system (jaw joints and muscles) and is, usually, worn while you are asleep. In severe cases, your dentist will provide two mouth guards, one for the upper jaw and one for the lower jaw.
A mouth guard has several positive effects:
Reduces teeth wear and tear: Instead of grinding away teeth you grind the mouth guard.
Relieves tension in the jaw joints. Many people suffer from pain in the jaw joints. Sometimes the jaw will lock or produce a loud annoying sound when being used. The mouth guard relieves tension built up in the jaw.
Stabilises the bite (occlusion). The design of a mouth guard provides maximum protection to the individual teeth. As it stabilises the bite, it helps the muscles and joints to relax more. If the overload on the teeth is extreme we sometimes see teeth being moved out of their position. A mouth guard will, in most cases, prevent this movement.
Things to consider
A mouth guard is worn during sleep. In some cases, it is recommended during the day as well. A patient may use the guard for longer than the recommended duration.
The length of the treatment period varies. If the main objective of the treatment is to get rid of pain, we often see that 3-4 months will suffice. When the objective is to prevent wear and tear of teeth, we recommend longer usage.
The mouth guard is custom-made to suit your bite. It may ache when you begin using it. This will wear off after a few days. The effect of the mouth guard will kick in once it feels comfortable in your mouth. If you feel tension and pain after the first couple of weeks it is important to contact your dentist.
If you stop using the mouth guard for a while, you can experience problems when you try to fit it again. This is because your teeth could have moved slightly over time. In this case you must contact your dentist.
When you remove the mouth guard in the morning your bite will feel peculiar. This is because the jaw muscles have been relaxing all night. The bite will adjust itself after a short while. Rarely do we need to make a bite adjustment.
Initially when using a mouth guard you may experience increased saliva production. It usually returns to normal levels in a few days.
While using a mouth guard it is very important to have good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth before inserting the guard. Floss your teeth daily. The actual mouth guard needs to be cleaned twice daily. When not in use store it in freshwater. When travelling keep it in a plastic bag with some wet wipes.
Always bring the mouth guard to any dentist appointment.
If you have any problems or queries please contact us.