Wisdom Teeth: Removal, Maintenance and Cavity Prevention

When You Need to Get a Dental Guard

There are two types of dental guard devices that can protect your teeth from damage or injury: mouth guards and night guards. Mouth guards are used for people who participate in sports and want to protect their teeth from breaking or cracking, especially with athletes like football players, wrestlers, and boxers. Night guards, also called bite splints, are custom-made for people who grind or clench their teeth at night. Here are some different reasons why you might need one of these dental guards.

You Play Sports

If you are an athlete or play sports for fun, you need to have a mouth guard. Nearly every type of sport can put you at risk for damaging your teeth, from high-impact sports like football and boxing, to other sports like baseball, hockey, and lacrosse. You can injure your teeth from physical impact of the other players, as well as balls flying in the air. While there are store-bought mouth guards that provide some protection, getting one custom made is highly recommended. It will fit perfectly over your teeth specifically, making it more comfortable and more secure.

Your Enamel is Thinning

You are born with the only tooth enamel you will ever get. This hard substance helps to protect your teeth and keep them strong. If your enamel is starting to thin and wear away, it can lead to your teeth becoming overly sensitive and increasing the risk for cracking or breaking of your teeth. If you have been grinding your teeth at night, it is probably leading to the thinner tooth enamel. With a custom night guard, you will stop grinding your teeth and losing your precious enamel.

You Already Have Tooth Damage

Another sign that you are probably grinding your teeth at night is if you already have signs of tooth damage. Pressing down hard on your teeth is known as clenching, which could be another cause. You might have teeth that are starting to crack at the cusps, have a receding gum line, or have teeth that have become so sensitive you can barely suck in cold air without experiencing severe pain. If your teeth are cracking more easily, it might not be just from the enamel wearing thin, but the pressure from clenching the teeth. This is another big reason to get a night guard; it will protect your teeth from further damage and hopefully save them.

If you wake up with headaches or jaw pain, you might also have TMJ disorder. This occurs in your jaw joint and can worsen when you grind your teeth. Talk to your dentist during your next dental check up if you think you have this disorder so you can discuss getting a night guard.