August 12, 2016
What can help sleep apnea, sports injury, bruxism (teeth grinding) and TMJ dysfunction? Your custom-made mouthguard from Houston-Memorial dentist, Dr. Terrence O’Keefe can. Formed from acrylic and cushioning top and bottom teeth, your mouthguard is a simple, effective wonder of modern dentistry.
Sports and your mouth
The Journal of the American Dental Association states that up to 39 percent of all oral injuries come from sports–those physical activities that involve speed, human contact and moving equipment, such as baseball bats, hockey sticks and basketballs. Given those statistics, Dr. Terrence O’Keefe, voted Houston’s Top Dentist, recommends custom-fabricated mouthguards for use by professional and amateur athletes of all ages.
Formed from high quality acrylic according to oral impressions taken at the dentist’s office, an athletic mouthguard protects teeth and gums from blows to the mouth and cushions them against wear and cracking during impact and strenuous activity.
Worn on the top teeth, and over braces as needed, an athletic mouthguard saves individuals from avulsed teeth, oral lacerations and lost restorations. Of course, they limit pain, suffering and the expense of complex dental care, too.
TMJ Dysfunction, Sleep Apnea and Bruxism
TMJ Dysfunction refers to the painful misalignment of the upper and lower jaw. With TMJ Dysfunction, this hinge-like joint does not open and close properly and makes odd popping and clicking noises, resulting in facial and ear pain, headaches and loss of function.
Night mouthguards, worn when you sleep, and bite splints, worn for a prescribed amount of time ‘round the cock, cushion teeth and help correct jaw misalignment. They represent a less aggressive method of dealing with TMJ, avoiding muscle relaxants, braces and surgeries.
Snore guards for sleep apnea are also custom-made by your Houston-Memorial dentist. These appliances hold lower jaws in a more forward position, opening the airways. Typical Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients snore very loudly but also suffer the deleterious health effects of oxygen deprivation and disrupted rest.
Finally, bruxism or unconscious, chronic teeth grinding leads to:
- Worn and cracked tooth enamel
- Jaw and ear pain
- Morning headaches
- Disrupted sleep
Often paired with sleep apnea, bruxism affects millions of adult and pediatric dental patients. Most kids, however, outgrow teeth grinding as they reach their teens.
A mouthguard for bruxism puts a physical barrier between upper and lower teeth. Worn consistently, the appliance helps lessen the habit and reduces the physical stresses on the oral cavity.
Caring for a mouthguard
Your 77079 dentist will show you how to care for your specific kind of mouthguard. In general, though, clean your mouthguard daily with toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Be sure to rinse the appliance with water or mouthwash after eating, and keep it in a closed container when not in use. Bring the appliance to Dr. O’Keefe for rechecks when you come for your semi-annual exam and hygienic cleaning.
For more information on mouthguards, contact Dr. Terrence O’Keefe to arrange a consultation. He’ll be able to tell you if one of these specialized appliances would help your particular oral health issue.
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