Protect Your Child’s Teeth with Mouth Guards

December 1, 2019

Did you know in 2012, more than three million teeth were knocked out during sporting events? The irony is, these injuries are preventable with mouth guards. Moreover, according to American Dental Association athletes who don’t wear mouth guards are 60 times more likely to get mouth and dental injuries.

At Islands Pediatric Dentistry, we advise parents to get toddler mouth guards to keep the teeth protected.

We understand you may have a few questions, here we share some of the common questions on mouth guards.

What are Mouth Guards?

Mouth guards are protective devices made from soft plastic and are designed to cover the teeth, lips, and gum and prevent injuries.

We create mouth guards in two appointments. On your child’s first appointment, the dentist will take their dental impression for molding. After a few days, they can come for a fitting.

Which Type is the Best?

Mouth guards are available in different versions but all fall in two categories: over-the-counter and custom-mouth guards.

Although parents assume that over-the-counter mouth guards can suffice, they may not offer much-needed protection. Store-bought mouth protectors are general and cannot be adjusted. Furthermore, they offer little to no protection, are bulky, and may cause breathing problems.

We recommend professional or custom-made mouth guards that are molded from the child’s dental impression. Because of that, the child will have better protection. Plus, they fit properly and allow them to breathe, talk better, and they are long-lasting.

Custom-fit mouth guards reduce the risk of orofacial injuries and concussions which are associated with sports injuries.

What Are the Functions of Mouth Guards?

Apart from sports protection, mouth guards can also be used for children who suffer from bruxism—the unconscious grinding and clenching of the teeth. Bruxism not only affects the teeth but can wear down the jaw bone.

Furthermore, mouth guards are used to relieving the tension of TMJ disorder and also as an orthodontic treatment to correct mild malocclusion.

People with sleep apnea and snoring can also benefit from mouth guards. Although the CPAP machine is the most recommended form of treatment, mouth protectors can be used for mild sleep apnea. Mouth guards push your tongue and lower jaw forward thereby keeping the airway open and promote proper breathing as well as reduce the vibrations caused by snoring.

My Child Has Braces, Can They Still Wear Mouth guards?

Yes, they can wear mouth guards and we highly recommend it. When the braces get damaged, they can cause a host of problems such as gum irritation and bruises on the tongue, or cheek. Wearing the mouth guards will protect the braces as well as other orthodontic treatments.

Are There Any Special Care Instructions for Mouth Guards?

Yes. It is crucial to protect your toddler’s mouth guards from damage.

  • Clean the mouth guard with cold water before using it. Avoid using hot water on the mouth guards as they are made of plastic and the water may change the shape.
  • Have the child brush their teeth before wearing the mouth guards
  • Store the mouth protectors in a well-ventilated container to keep it dry and protected
  • Regularly check the guards for any signs of damage
  • With time the mouth guards will need to be adjusted and it’s important to carry them with you when you come for your child’s dental checkup

Remember, the mouth guards, though durable, don’t last forever. They will need to be replaced every two to three years.

Are There Side Effects?

Dental guards are a great way to protect your child’s teeth. However, night mouth guards may have some side effects:

  • Tooth discomfort and soreness
  • Bite changes. Mouth guards push the jaw forward to reduce snoring. As a result, the teeth and jaw muscles move, change shape, or reposition, thereby altering your dental structure
  • TMJ dysfunction

The Bottom Line

Our dentist recommends custom-made mouth guards as it offers the best fit. So, whether your child plays high-impact sport, or they suffer from bruxism our mouth guards in Gilbert AZ are the best. Call us today for a custom-made toddler mouth guard.