While injuries to the teeth, jaw and soft tissues around the mouth can occur during many activities, they are more likely to occur while playing contact and semi-contact sports. If you or your child play sport or enjoy other activities where the teeth may be at risk to impact, it is important to wear a mouthguard. This will protect the teeth during impact, avoiding chipping, breaking or even knocking out the teeth.
There are several types of mouthguards available, including those bought over the counter at chemists and sports stores, and those custom-made by a dentist to securely fit an individual’s teeth. Over the counter mouthguards, which are moulded by the wearer, provide little protection and in fact may be dangerous to the wearer. These mouthguards are usually poorly fitting, especially for children, and do not extend far enough to protect the upper teeth from being displaced or knocked out.
A custom-made mouthguard does more than just protect teeth – it greatly reduces the chance of teeth being displaced or knocked out, it lessens the chance of the lower jaw being broken, and it greatly reduces the force of a blow to the lower jaw, which is transmitted to the skull, thereby reducing the likelihood of concussion. The mouthguards are constructed on a plaster model made from an impression that has been taken of your teeth. These mouthguards are individually custom-made for both adults and children.
Teeth that severely break or fall out due to trauma are classified as dental emergencies. It is best to avoid dental emergencies where possible as they require immediate attention. This is especially important in the case of teeth loss as there is only a small time frame in which the tooth can be saved and re-root in the mouth. If you wear a mouthguard, it will greatly reduce the likelihood of this happening.
Patients who suffer from bruxism will clench, grind or chew aside from a normal practice associated with eating, speaking or drinking. This excessive pressure can lead to extra wearing on teeth and can lead to pain in the head, mouth and jaw. In some cases permanent damage to teeth and jaw joints can occur.
Causes of bruxism
It is believed that a combination of physical and psychological factors contribute to bruxism. Illnesses, nutritional deficiencies, dehydration, and psychological stress such as anxiety or tension, can all contribute to the grinding and clenching of the teeth. Bruxism may also be caused by abnormal teeth or jaw structure, that causes disproportionate pressure on some teeth.
Signs and symptoms
Toothache, sensitivity to hot and cold, chronic facial pain, tension headaches, worn down tooth surfaces, broken or chipped teeth, and pain in the jaw joints and face are all symptoms of bruxism. Partners or friends may also notice the noise that occurs as the teeth are being ground together.
Crookes and Jenkins Dental offer patients suffering from mild to severe bruxism an occlusal splint, sometimes called a night guard. The splint is moulded to the patietns teeth and fits over the upper and lower arch. If worn at night, it can prevent further tooth wear.
Depending on the degree of damage, we may need to repair damaged teeth. Each case is different, however treatments can include dental bonding, fillings, crowns or inlays to replace damaged tooth surfaces. If damage extends through to the tooth pulp we will perform root canal treatment. In extreme cases, badly damaged teeth may need to be extracted. In this case we will recommend a dental implant as a replacement.