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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:
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 problems.Acknowledgement: Information above is courtesy of Consumer Guide to Dentistry - Ceatus Media Group.