Oral surgeons generally recommend their patients wear mouthguards if they are at risk of damaging their teeth.
You may prefer to avoid dealing with a dental appliance, but a mouthguard helps protect your oral health, so wearing one is well worth the trouble.
Why Oral Surgeons Recommend Mouthguards
Mouthguards are recommended for a number of reasons. Your oral surgeon may suggest wearing one because:
You’re an athlete.
Without a mouthguard, anyone who engages in recreational or organized sports is at a much greater risk of suffering facial injuries and tooth damage.
You grind your teeth.
Wearing a mouthguard at night can help protect you against the damaging effects of tooth grinding.
You have TMJ disorder.
Many people with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder clench or grind their teeth when they sleep. Wearing a mouthguard can put an end to this habit.
Getting the Right Mouthguard for You
For occasional athletes, a pre-formed, ready-to-wear mouth protector can be effective. However, a boil-and-bite guard offers a better fit, so frequent players usually prefer these over pre-formed models.
If you want the best-fitting sports mouthguard, ask your oral surgeon about a custom-made mouth protector. These come at a higher cost, but the superior comfort and protection more than make up for the added expense.
With TMJ disorder, oral surgeons often recommend a custom-fitted mouth protector called an NTI-tss device. Short for nociceptive trigeminal nerve tension suppression system, this guard helps relieve jaw strain and reduce unconscious jaw movement at night.
How to Clean Your Mouthguard
Mouthguards come with cleaning instructions, which you should follow with every wearing. Doing so will help prevent a buildup of dental plaque and debris.
Keeping a mouth protector clean isn’t difficult. The process involves:
- Scrubbing with a mild soap and toothbrush
- Rinsing with cold or tepid water
- Letting it dry
- Storing it in a firm, perforated container
Using a room-temperature soaking solution such as those made for dentures and orthodontic retainers can also help keep a mouthguard clean. However, this practice shouldn’t replace brushing, as scrubbing with a toothbrush is more effective.
To keep your mouth protector in good shape, bring it along to every regularly scheduled oral surgeon consultation. That way, it can be professionally examined for wear and tear or possible damage.
Could a mouthguard help you? If you’re an athlete, TMJ sufferer or you grind your teeth, chances are the answer is yes. To find out, make an appointment with the professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.
If you’re ready to talk about mouthguards, contact one of our three Salt Lake City-area offices — in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele — and schedule an oral surgeon consultation today.