What Are They?
A mouth guard
(mouth protector) offered by San Jose
general and cosmetic dentists at Top Best
*8* San Jose Dentists Specialists Centers - Jonathan H.
Kim, DDS, Inc. is a flexible custom
fitted device worn over teeth during
athletic and recreational activities to
protect them from damage. A good-fitting
mouth guard may be especially important if
you wear braces, have fixed anterior
bridgework or just want to protect your
teeth/smile from potential trauma.
Mouth guards can buffer damage to the teeth,
the brackets and/or other fixed appliances
from blows and physical contact. Mouth
guards can also act as a barrier between
teeth/braces and the cheeks, between the
lips and tongue, thereby limiting the risk
of soft tissue damage.
The ideal mouth guard also:
- Allows speaking and does not limit
- Stays firmly in place during action.
- Provides a high degree of comfort and fit.
- Is durable and easy to clean.
- Is resilient, tear-resistant, odorless and
Generally, a mouth guard only covers the
upper teeth. However, dentists at San Jose
general and cosmetic dentistry at Top Best
*8* San Jose Dentists Specialists Centers - Jonathan
H. Kim, DDS, Inc. may suggest
that athletes with a protruding jaw or those
who wear braces or other dental appliances
(such as retainers, bridgework or have
implant-supported dentures) on their lower
jaw wear a mouth guard on their lower teeth.
Our upper and
lower teeth are supposed to glide together
smoothly, touching only when we are chewing
food. Unnatural grinding or clenching can
cause wearing and cracking of the teeth, as
well as serious jaw impairment.
The reality is that all of us grind our
teeth on occasion — when we are angry or
anxious, for instance, or when our sleep is
disturbed. But when we grind our teeth on a
regular basis, we have a condition called
bruxism (from the Greek bryx, meaning a
“gnashing of the teeth”).
If bruxing persists, as it does in an
estimated 20 percent of the population
during waking hours and 8 percent during
sleep, it can have a negative effect on
tooth enamel, bone, gums and the jaw.
One such practical remedy is the use of a
bite plate that has been custom-fitted by
your dentist. Wearable day or night, it acts
as a bumper guard, absorbing the force of
the clenching or grinding. While
horseshoe-shaped over-the-counter night
guards are also available, they tend to be
uncomfortable and are so soft that they may
get chewed away. In addition,
over-the-counter night guards do not account
for occlusal discrepancies that may be the
source of your bruxing problems; a night
guard custom fabricated by your dentist's
laboratory technician does.
Unfortunately, many of the soft night guards
actually stimulate a wearer to grind in
their sleep. Although the teeth may be
protected by a soft night guard, the muscles
and jaw joints will not be protected; thus,
many muscle symptoms (such as headaches),
will increase with the use of soft
appliances. Custom-fitted plates, made of
hard acrylic, can help bruxers avoid such
Acknowledgement: Information above is
courtesy of Consumer Guide to Dentistry -
Ceatus Media Group.