Posts for: October, 2017
What Are Sports Guards?
Sports guards are protective appliances worn over the upper teeth to help prevent injury. They absorb the shock of a blow and distribute the force evenly, making it less likely for damage to teeth and oral tissues to occur. They may also help to prevent concussions, but more research is needed in this area.
Who Should Wear A Sports Guard?
People of all ages, whether they are skilled athletes or amateurs, can benefit from wearing a sports guard if participating in any sport or activity that poses a risk of injury. Most people can agree that contact sports can lead to injuries, but other sports such as skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding and BMX biking can also be dangerous. Weightlifters may also be at risk of injuring their teeth and jaws from clenching their teeth very hard while lifting.
Some sports associations have made sports guards mandatory, mostly in minor leagues. In Canada, the only professional sport that requires their use is boxing.
Types of Sports Guards
Prefabricated or stock sports guards are the most inexpensive option, but also the bulkiest and poor-fitting. They are one size fits all.
"Boil and bite" sports guards are made from a plastic material that softens in boiling water and then adapts to the teeth. This type may also be difficult to get a good fit.
Custom-fit sports guards are made at a dental office. Impressions are taken of the teeth and molds are made. Then a thermoplastic material is vacuum formed over the molds to ensure a perfect fit. Since these are the best fitting, compliance with wearing a custom sports guard tends to be better. They are comfortable, easy to wear and are available in a variety of colors.
Caring For Your Sports Guard
If not cared for properly, sports guards may begin to grow mold and bacteria. After use, rinse with water to remove saliva, then brush with a toothbrush or denture brush and a mild soap. Make sure to allow to completely air dry before sealing it in its case. Try to avoid cleaning it with hot water, as this could cause the plastic to warp.
Your sports guard will need to be replaced every 2 or 3 years or when not fitting properly, worn out or broken.
Dental professionals see the results of sports injuries on a regular basis. Wearing a sports guard can prevent the loss or breaking of teeth and prevent injury to the mouth and jaws. Tooth loss can result in loss of self-confidence or difficulty speaking or eating. Preventing injuries is safer and more cost-effective. If you play sports, please consider wearing a sports guard.
If you need a custom-made sportsguard or mouthguard, call us at 905-286-1569 to schedule your appointment.
It’s hard to avoid stress in the 21st Century. We’re all bombarded with stressors, from work to family — even our smart phones!
The problem really isn’t the stressors themselves but how we respond to them and try to relieve stress. This can often have a negative effect on our health. One example: bruxism, also known as teeth grinding or clenching.
These habits involve the rhythmic or spasmodic clenching, biting or grinding of the teeth, often involuntarily, beyond normal chewing function. It often occurs while we sleep — jaw soreness the next morning is a telltale sign. While there are other causes, stress is one of the most common for adults, bolstered by diet and lifestyle habits like tobacco or drug use, or excessive caffeine and alcohol.
Teeth grinding’s most serious consequence is the potential for dental problems. While teeth normally wear as we age, grinding or clenching habits can accelerate it. Wearing can become so extensive the enamel erodes, possibly leading to fractures or cracks in the tooth.
When dealing with this type of bruxism, we must address the root cause: your relationship to stress. For example, if you use tobacco, consider quitting the habit — not only for your overall health, but to remove it as a stress stimulant. The same goes for cutting back on your consumption of caffeinated or alcoholic drinks.
Adopt an “unwinding” pattern at night before you sleep to better relax: for example, take a warm bath or keep work items or digital media out of the bedroom.Â Many people also report relaxation or stress-relief techniques like meditation, mindfulness or biofeedback helpful.
There’s another useful tool for easing the effects of nighttime teeth grinding: an occlusal guard. This custom-fitted appliance worn while you sleep prevents teeth from making solid contact with each other when you clench them. This can greatly reduce the adverse effects on your teeth while you’re working on other stress coping techniques.
Teeth grinding or clenching can prove harmful over time. The sooner you address this issue with your dentist or physician, the less likely you’ll experience these unwanted consequences.
If you would like more information on the causes and treatments for teeth grinding, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Grinding: Causes and Therapies for a Potentially Troubling Behavior.”
You’ve invested a lot of time and money in orthodontic treatment to improve your smile. If you’re not careful, though, your teeth could actually move back to their old positions. The reason why is related to the same natural tooth-moving mechanism we use to straighten teeth in the first place.
Teeth are held in place by an elastic, fibrous tissue called the periodontal ligament lying between the teeth and the jawbone and attaching to both with tiny collagen fibers. The periodontal ligament allows for incremental tooth movement in response to pressure generated around the teeth, as when we chew (or while wearing braces).
Unfortunately, this process can work in reverse. Out of a kind of “muscle memory,” the teeth can revert to the older positions once there’s no more pressure from the removed braces. You could eventually be right back where you started.
To avoid this, we have to employ measures to hold or “retain” the teeth in their new positions for some time after the braces come off. That’s why we have you wear a dental appliance called a retainer, which maintains tooth position to prevent a relapse. Depending on what’s best for your situation, this could be a removable retainer or one that’s fixed to the teeth.
Patients typically wear a retainer around the clock in the immediate period after braces, and then eventually taper off to just nighttime wear. Younger patients must wear one for several months until the new teeth positions become more secure and the chances of a rebound diminish. For older patients who’ve matured past the jaw development stage, though, wearing a retainer may be a permanent necessity to protect their smile.
Retainer wear can be an annoyance, but it’s an absolute necessity. Think of it as insurance on your investment in a new, more attractive smile.
If you would like more information on improving your smile through orthodontics, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”