Mouthguards and Sports Guards
Preventing dental problems before they occur is one of the best things you can do for your child’s oral health. At Gallatin Valley Pediatric Dentistry, we specialize in several preventive services designed to keep your child’s teeth in pristine condition. It’s never been easier to maintain a beautiful, clean, and healthy smile!
If your child suffers from bruxism (teeth grinding) or participates in sporting activities, we may recommend a mouth or sports guard. A mouthguard is a plastic covering worn over the teeth to protect the enamel from trauma, injury, and other types of damage. Dr. Justin and Dr. Joni will talk with you about what kind of mouth or sports guard would be right for your child.
Does Your Child Need a Mouthguard?
Bruxism refers to the habit of continuous teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Teeth grinding can result in the premature wear of enamel and problems with the TMJ, temporomandibular joint. While this issue is quite common for children, most will outgrow the problem by the time they reach adulthood.
In the meantime, though, it is important to protect their teeth. When bruxism is left untreated, it can create serious consequences for the future of your child’s oral health. During their routine dental exams, our dentists will check for the signs and symptoms of teeth grinding. If we do diagnose this condition, the next step is fabricating a custom-fit mouthguard.
Most children with bruxism are unaware that they are grinding their teeth. It usually takes place during sleep or unconsciously during the day. A mouthguard is perhaps the most effective treatment for patients who grind their teeth nocturnally. The plastic appliances serve as a barrier between the upper and lower teeth to prevent enamel wear.
Does Your Child Need a Sports Guard?
A sports guard, as the name suggests, is an important athletic appliance for children (and adults) that participate in sporting activities. Sports like football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and even gymnastics put your child at a higher risk for injury or trauma. We typically recommend a sports guard to prevent your child from chipping, breaking, loosening or knocking-out their teeth.
Accidents happen, especially with children. Any child that participates in activities that may involve body contact, falls, and flying equipment will benefit from wearing a mouthguard. Most sports guards are designed to cover upper teeth. However, we may fabricate one for the lower jaw as well if your child has braces or other fixed appliances.
Types of Guards
There are three main types of mouthguards. The type of guard your child wears can affect the comfort and effectiveness of the appliance. The three types of guards include:
||Stock Guards: This type of guard is store-bought and comes ready to wear. While they are inexpensive, we typically do not recommend their use. Because they come preformed, they are often bulky, which can make breathing and talking difficult. They also provide the least amount of protection.
||Boil and Bite Guards: This type of guard is also store-bought, but provides a slightly better fit. The appliance is made of a thermoplastic material that, after being placed in hot water, allows you to form the guard around the teeth. While it offers a better fit than a stock guard, this fit largely depends on how well you shape the appliance.
||Custom-Fit Guards: This type of guard is designed in our laboratory using an impression of your child's teeth. A custom-fit guard is the most comfortable, stable and effective type of mouth guard. We recommend this type of guard especially once children have lost all of their baby teeth.
Schedule a Consultation
Find out if your child needs a mouth or sportsguard. Call 406-224-4272 to schedule a consultation appointment today!