Mouth Guards

Many of the dental conditions your kids encounter are beyond your control. But fitting them with customized dental guards if they play sports or a mouth guard for teeth grinding if necessary is one step you can take now to save time and money in the future. Mouth guards are one of many preventative dental care steps offered by Tiny Smiles Pediatric Dentistry — in Woodbridge, New Jersey, in Harlem, NY and on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Call today for an appointment.

What Are Mouth Guards?

A dental mouth guard is a device that protects teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue from being injured. Sports are a great way to stay active, but athletes of all ages and skill levels are at increased risk of experiencing a dental injury. Kids mouth guards are most often used as a form of protection during sports. A mouth guard for teeth grinding also is common to protect your child’s teeth from damage.

To ensure your children stay as healthy as possible, add preventative dental care to the list of important appointments. In Woodbridge, New Jersey and in Manhattan, an exceptional team of experienced kids’ dental professionals practices at Tiny Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. Dental guards are one of the many services available for your children.

What Are Reasons a Kids Mouth Guard May Be Recommended?

Some sports greatly increase the risk of damaging or losing a tooth from injury. This includes contact sports that pose an increased risk of injury to the face, as well as sports that have a high risk of trauma from a fall. A mouth guard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be used in sports such as:

  • Boxing
  • Wrestling
  • Football
  • Martial arts
  • Ice skating or hockey
  • Gymnastics
  • Bicycling
  • Skateboarding
  • Skiing

Wearing mouth guards to protect the teeth is similar to wearing a helmet to protect the head. Using a dental mouth guard to prevent damage to the teeth can save you money on dental bills to repair damage from injuries.

What Causes Teeth Griding?

Bruxism is a condition that causes teeth clenching and grinding. It may happen either during sleep or while awake. The condition may have several different causes. Possible reasons children grind or clench their teeth include:

  • Stress
  • Teeth that aren’t aligned properly
  • Tooth pain

Many people don’t realize they have bruxism. Signs that a person may be grinding their teeth include:

  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Headaches
  • Wearing away of tooth enamel
  • Facial pain
  • Sensitive teeth

When bruxism happens during sleep, it may be accompanied by other sleep conditions such as sleep apnea or snoring. Children sometimes outgrow bruxism, but until they do, your dentist may recommend a teeth grinding mouth guard.

What Are Different Types of Dental Guards?

The two main types of dental guards are those that are used to protect teeth from trauma and those that are used for patients who grind their teeth. A mouth guard intended to protect the teeth and mouth from injury looks and feels different than a mouth guard for teeth grinding. Types of dental mouth guards include:

  • Custom made. Your dentist has these created from an impression of your child’s mouth. They are worth the higher cost because they’re the most comfortable, and your children may actually wear them, and they offer the most protection.
  • These don’t offer much protection because they are one size fits all.
  • Boil and bite. A hybrid between the other two types, these are stock dental guards that you place in boiling water before biting them to create an impression of the teeth.

Mouth guards usually fit the upper teeth since those are the ones most at risk of damage. If your child has braces, your pediatric dentist may recommend a lower mouth guard as well as an upper mouth guard.

What Are Benefits of Wearing a Dental Mouth Guard?

The biggest benefit of wearing a dental mouth guard is to prevent damage from trauma to the teeth and face. Mouth guards are among the least expensive forms of protective equipment. Wearing mouth guards helps prevent:

  • Soft tissue damage to the tongue, inside cheeks, lips and gums
  • Chipped teeth
  • Loose or lost teeth
  • Nerve damage affecting teeth

Wearing dental guards can’t prevent every kind of trauma, such as being hit in the face with an elbow, but they reduce the damage sustained if injured. Mouth guards are made of soft materials such as laminate or soft plastic, which helps them absorb some of the force of a trauma.

How Do You Care for Mouth Guards?

Mouth guards need to be kept clean and dry when not being used. Things to do to take care of a mouth guard include:

  • Regularly cleaning a kids mouth guard, using a toothbrush and toothpaste, especially before and after each use
  • Storing in a sturdy container that has vents to help prevent bacteria from growing
  • Avoiding leaving it in the sun
  • Storing dental guards away from pets who may think it’s a chew toy

With proper care, mouth guards can last several years. A custom mouth guard needs to be replaced immediately if it’s damaged, warped or shows signs of wear. Children may need to replace their mouth guards from time to time because they are continually growing and changing.

Protecting teeth from possible trauma is part of dental care. Contact Tiny Smiles Pediatric Dentistry at their closest office— in Woodbridge, NJ, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan or in Harlem — for your kids’ regular dental care. Let them fit your active children for a mouth guard for teeth grinding or dental guards for prevention.

Skip to content