If you’re sports fan, it is quite common to see athletes wear mouth guards or a athletic guard. More recently, if you watched the 2017 NBA play offs, you may have seen Isaiah Thomas from the Boston Celtics get elbowed during a game against the Washington Wizards.
Isaiah Thomas lost his front tooth after he was accidentally elbowed during the game. Had he been wearing a mouth guard, his teeth would have been better protected and he may have been able to save his front tooth. Clearly, an athletic guard during contact sports is very important for protection of teeth, jaw and bone around the mouth.
What happened to Isaiah is the reality of many contact sports and displays the risks of not wearing a mouthguard. In order to minimize risk of avulsed, fractured teeth, and in some cases fractured bone and jaw, athletic guards are recommended for players in contact sports. A custom mouthguard is created by taking an impression of your teeth and bite.
Usually, a mouth guard is placed on your top teeth as your top teeth are more prone to fractures and accidents. For more information on mouth guards,
You may not know if you are in need of teeth grinding guard (bruxism) at night, however signs of night-time or day-time grinding can be diagnosed by your dentist during a dental visit. Teeth grinding and clenching of the jaw contributes to the majority of the wear noted on teeth. During your dental visit, your dentist may find slight to severe signs of wear on your teeth. Our masseter muscle found in our cheeks is considered to be one of the strongest muscles in our body. This muscle alone can exert 600 lbs of force per square inch on our molars. Bruxism(grinding) caused by the forces exerted by our masseter occur generally at night, which is why so many people are unaware of night-time grinding or clenching. There are several reasons why one may grind their teeth at night or during the day. Some of the primary reasons for grinding are:
- Malaligned Teeth/abnormal bite
- Sleeping disorders
Regardless of why you may be grinding, night-time grinding can lead to
- Teeth discoloration
- Gum recession
- Sensitivity due to exposure of pulp(nerve of the tooth)
- Soreness of muscles around jaw
- Jaw pain
- Dull headaches
- Cracked or broken teeth
- Cavites near the gum line
Your dentist may recommend an occlusal guard or a night grinding guard for you to wear at night to prevent future grinding. This custom fabricated night guard fits over your teeth and prevents you from wearing away the surfaces of your teeth t. If you find yourself grinding during the day or at times of stress and anxiety, it is important to make yourself aware, and chew on sugar-free xylitol gum. Mindfulness, yoga, and meditation are some other ways you may be able reduce stress and anxiety which may indirectly reduce the amount of day-time and possibly night-time grinding you are experiencing. For more information