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April is National Facial Protection Month – Wear a Mouthguard

04/15/14 COMMENTS 0

Imagine what it would be like if you suddenly lost one or two of your front teeth. Smiling, talking, eating—everything would suddenly be affected.

Custom Mouth Guard

Mouthguards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. Knowing how to prevent injuries like these is especially important if you participate in organized sports or other recreational activities.

When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age. In fact, studies show that athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth if they’re not wearing a mouthguard. While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, you can experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating.

There are three types of mouthguards:

  • Custom-fitted. These are made by your dentist for you personally. They are more expensive than the other versions, but because they are customized, usually offer the best fit.
  • Stock. These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.
  • Boil and bite. These mouth protectors can be bought at many sporting goods stores and drugstores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They are first softened in water (boiled), then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth.

The best mouthguard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist. However, if you can’t afford a custom-fitted mouthguard, you should still wear a stock mouthguard or a boil-and-bite mouthguard from the drugstore. If you wear braces or another fixed dental appliance on your lower jaw, your dentist may suggest a mouth protector for these teeth as well.

A properly fitted mouthguard may be especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouthguard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, limiting the risk of soft tissue injuries.

Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about selecting a mouthguard that will provide the best protection. Although mouthguards typically only cover the upper teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest that you use a mouthguard on the lower teeth if you have braces on these teeth too.

If you have a retainer or other removable appliance, do not wear it during any contact sports.

Some tips for caring for your mouthguard:

  • rinse before and after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste
  • occasionally clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water and rinse thoroughly
  • transport the mouthguard in a sturdy container that has vents
  • never leave the mouthguard in the sun or in hot water
  • check for wear and tear to see if it needs replacing

Please contact us if you have specific questions or would like to make an appointment for a custom-fitted mouthguard.

Five questions kids ask about teeth

03/28/14 COMMENTS 0

Child BrushingChildren have a lot of questions.  They ask how plants grow, why the sky is blue, and how airplanes fly.  Not surprisingly, they have a lot of questions about themselves, too.  For example, as they chew or brush their teeth, they may ask questions about teeth.  Here’s a guide to help you answer them.

1. Do wisdom teeth make you smart?
What’s 36 times 85?  Wisdom teeth won’t help you answer that or deal with any other intellectual challenges.  Despite their name, they don’t have anything to do with intelligence.  Our two other sets of molars come in when we’re younger, and the wisdom teeth are the “third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties.”  If they come in properly, they can remain in the mouth.  However, in many cases, they don’t come in properly; in those cases, they need to be removed.  When wisdom teeth need to be removed, it’s very important to follow all instructions to maximize recovery and minimize the risk of infection and other problems.  We promise, you’ll be just as smart without them as you were with them.  The answer, by the way, is that 36 times 85 equals 3,060.

2. Why do baby teeth fall out?
Do you remember when your child’s first tooth came in?  It’s always an exciting moment for parents, and it is often recorded in the baby book.  Those tiny teeth are just the beginning.  They’re small because infants and toddlers have small mouths; those early teeth serve your child well, and eventually they begin to fall out to make room for permanent teeth.  The permanent teeth are bigger because they’re exactly that: permanent.  This means that your child may have to grow into them a little bit.

3. Why do I have to floss?
Have you ever looked at your teeth at the end of the day?  Stand in front of a mirror with your child and examine your teeth together.  You may find that they don’t look nearly as clean as they did after you brushed them in the morning.  You may even find stray food particles in there.  Brush them and take another look.  They probably look a lot better, but you may still find a few things the toothbrush left behind.  Even if the spaces between your teeth look presentable, there are still tiny particles left behind because your toothbrush can’t clean between your teeth very well.  That’s what floss is for.  It helps clean between teeth to remove germs and other materials from your mouth.  Happy flossing!

4. Do I really have to brush every day?
Yes, yes, yes.  It’s important to brush after every meal.  When your mouth is cleaner, there are fewer germs in it and it’s healthier.  Regular brushing will help reduce or eliminate bad breath, too.

5. Why do we use toothpaste?
Toothpaste helps us in a variety of ways.  It has fluoride, which helps our teeth.  Some toothpastes help reduce sensitivity or make teeth whiter.  Others help strengthen enamel.  If you’re not sure which type of toothpaste to use, let us know and we’ll help you figure it out.  Remind children that they should never swallow toothpaste.

It’s natural for children to have questions about their teeth and about many aspects of the world around them.  We can help you out with the dental questions because we’re committed to helping you provide them with a solid foundation of dental health.  As to the million other questions you’ll encounter, we recommend finding a good search engine.  Good luck!

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