Protecting your smile sometimes means using oral appliances designed specifically to avoid adverse effects on your teeth. These are known as preventive devices.
The two most common are the bite plate (also known as an occlusal splint) and the mouth guard.
Bite plate (occlusal guard)
If someone in your household grinds their teeth during the day or at night, he or she suffers from bruxism. Bruxism is a condition that should not be taken lightly.
Bruxism is a form of repetitive dental friction that causes premature tooth wear. It can also lead to jaw pain and, in some people, to migraines. The most severe cases can result in clicking of the temporomandibular joint, pain in the shoulders and neck, ear congestion and/or a limited ability to open the mouth.
A bite plate is an effective solution to the harmful effects of bruxism. Made from an accurate impression of your teeth, it is worn mostly at night and sometimes during the day, as required.
The bite plate:
- Partially absorbs grinding and clenching
- Relaxes the jaw muscles, thus easing tension
- Relieves the temporomandibular joints and decreases pain
- Limits bone and tooth deterioration
- Can reduce snoring in some cases
Custom mouth guard
While custom mouth guards are extremely common in professional sports, you don’t need to be a pro athlete to use one. A mouth guard is recommended for anyone who practises a sport that entails the risk of falls or blows—for example, hockey, martial arts, cycling, boxing, rollerblading, skiing or soccer.
Unlike commercially available prefabricated mouth guards, the custom mouth guard is designed by professionals and made based on a dental impression. It optimizes comfort and breathing, is more apt to stay in place and has no adverse effects on performance.
In addition to protecting the teeth from injury, the custom mouth guard:
- Reduces the risk of concussion
- Decreases the number, severity and risk of fractures to the jaw and teeth
- Reduces injuries to the neck and the mucous membranes of the mouth
Above all, it protects your smile!