Guard Your Child’s Teeth Against Injuries and Grinding
If your child plays sports or grinds his or her teeth, Dr. Jared may recommend a mouth guard, a covering worn over the teeth to protect them from injury. Sports injuries can cause chipped, broken or lost teeth, or other damage to the mouth area. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, may result in fractures, cracks or worn-down teeth. A mouth guard can protect the teeth from injury and offer relief from the painful results of bruxism.
To be effective, a mouth guard should fit well, feel comfortable and stay in place. It should also allow your child to breathe freely and talk without sputtering or spitting. Comfort and ease are essential, since children often do not want to wear a guard and may even remove an uncomfortable one when no one is looking.
Over-the-counter (OTC) mouth guards are inexpensive, but they have several disadvantages. The one-size-fits-all OTC guard does not provide an exact fit, so it may not be comfortable or effective. Teeth grinding could also cause it to loosen or fall out. Most OTC mouth guards require the child to clench his or her teeth to keep it in place—an inconvenience most children cannot manage.
The boil-and-bite mouth guard, another OTC style, is made from thermoplastic material that is placed in hot water to soften. Once it cools, the child bites down on it so that the mouth guard hardens to form around his or her teeth. This may give a better fit than the one-size model but is not recommended for children with braces.
The custom-fit guard is the option recommended by the American Dental Association. Molded according to exact measurements of the child’s mouth, the custom guard provides the best fit and function. Although they are more expensive, custom mouth guards may actually save money in the long run, because they prevent dental injuries and costly repairs more effectively.
If your child plays sports or grinds his or her teeth, make an appointment at KiDDS Dental. We can help you choose the best mouth guard for your child.
Click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jared. Or give us a call at (509)-891-7070.