For many adults and children who play contact sports, an athletic mouthguard is often overlooked. However, not wearing an athletic mouthguard can lead to damage to your smile and facial tissues. Many people are unaware of the need for an athletic mouthguard, others just don’t think they are cool, and others might complain they are uncomfortable. For safety, every contact sport requires a well made athletic mouthguard. This will be essential to keeping your mouth and face protected. Below you will find the most important reasons to wear an athletic mouthguard.
What Can An Athletic Mouthguard Do For Me?
–Protect Against Tooth Fractures. Trauma to the mouth will often lead to a fractured tooth. An athletic mouthguard can help prevent or decrease the severity of these types of injuries, preserving your smile. If a tooth does get fractured, below are a few of the possible outcomes…
1. Small, Superficial Fracture. If the fracture is small enough and stays away from the nerve of the tooth, your dentist can probably repair it with tooth bonding. Tooth bonding uses a tooth colored material to match your existing teeth and restore form and function.
2. Fracture Exposing The Nerve Of The Tooth. At this point to save the tooth, root canal therapy will be needed and then rebuilding the tooth with a full coverage crown.
3. Fracture All The Way Down To The Root Of The Tooth. A fracture this large usually leaves only one option and that is a tooth extraction. Then to replace the tooth will invlolve placement of a dental implant, a fixed dental bridge, or a removable denture.
–Protect Against Teeth Displacement. One of the main functions of an athletic mouthguard is to cushion any trauma that occurs around your teeth area. If you are hit in the face by a baseball when not wearing an athletic mouthguard, the tooth may not fracture but it could loosen your tooth and make it mobile or even fall out. A dentist may need to splint your teeth together to allow the tooth to heal on its own. Proper treatment should help lessen the chances of permanent loss of the affected tooth.
–Protect Against Knocking A Tooth Out. Blunt force trauma can literally knock a tooth out of its socket. This is called an avulsed tooth. Fortunately, if cared for properly and placed back in as soon as possible there is a chance of the tooth being saved. An athletic mouthguard decreases the chance of this from even happening.
–Possibly Protect Against Concussions. These types of injuries are all over the news of late with big time sports stars lives irrevocably damaged due to multiple concussions. Recent research has shown that wearing a well fitting athletic mouthguard may possibly lower the possibility of concussions. The athletic mouthguard acts as a cushion to lessen the force placed on the brain from contact sports. More research is needed for definitive proof.
–Protect The Lips, Tongue, and Cheeks. When undergoing trauma, we have a tendency to bite down. Without an athletic mouthguard in place, we tend to bite down on the soft tissues in and around the mouth. Athletic Mouthguards can keep you from damaging those softer tissues while enjoying your favorite activities.
–Protect Against Fractures Of The Jaw. Again, when undergoing trauma the force can be lessened by the cushion of the athletic mouthguard. Without that padding the force can break your jaw into pieces. A jaw fracture usually requires extensive surgery to repair.
Athletic Mouthguard Conclusion
A custom made athletic mouthguard costs more than a store bought one. The benefits of a custom athletic mouthguard are numerous. A poor fitting athletic guard may be a risk not worth taking. Once a tooth is gone it is gone, concussion trauma causes long term issues, and jaw fractues are a huge concern. Why take the risk of damaging your beautiful smile? Or even your quality of life?
Tooth decay is a slow, destructive process. In its earliest stages, a decayed tooth, is easily treatable. If left untreated it will lead to dental infection and tooth loss. The best defense against tooth decay is good oral hygiene along with regular dental visits. These routine dental visits will give your dentist the ability to detect tooth decay in its earliest stages.
Signs Of Tooth Decay
–Pain/Discomfort. Having any kind of oral or tooth pain is not normal. It is usually a sign that something is wrong.
–Tooth Sensitivity. This can be due to a variety of things but it is important to note the type of sensitivity present. Is it sensitive to hot temperatures, cold temperatures, or both? Is it sensitive to sugary foods? Is it sensitive to acidic foods? If the tooth or teeth are sensitive to most or all of the questions posed than it is cause for concern.
-Persistent Bad Breath (Halitosis). Bad breath can be caused by many things like the foods we eat, periodontal disease, and systemic disease (like diabetes). Tooth decay can also present itself with a persistent malodor due to the bacteria present in tooth decay.
Tooth Decay Treatment
Treatment of tooth decay usually takes two routes. One is when it is detected early enough to see if it will reverse itself through remineralization and the other is restoring the tooth to its natural form and function.
-Remineralization. Very shallow cavities in our teeth can sometimes fix themselves with a little help. These cavities must only be in the outer layer of our teeth (enamel). Once it passes theough this layer the tooth decay will not reverse itself. The repair process is known as remineralization. Application of fluoride to the teeth can reverse the process of early tooth decay. This is usually done using a fluoride supplement or through application at a dental office. Fluoride can be harmful at high levels so it is important to follow your dentist’s advice.
-Dental Restoration. Once the tooth decay enters the underlying layers of a tooth it is time for a dental restoration to restore the form and function of the teeth. Restorations can include dental amalgam, dental bonding, and dental crowns. Dental crowns (can be porcelain or gold) are necessary when the tooth decay is extensive.
–Root Canal Therapy. This treatment will be necessary if the tooth decay has entered the “nerve center” of the tooth. This allows the dentist to save the tooth preserving it for future use. Once a tooth receives a root canal it is generally recommended that a dental crown be placed.
–Tooth Extraction. If a patient decides to forego root canal therapy or the decay is so extensive that it is not able to be restored, the only option is to remove the tooth (or what is left of that tooth). This is usually a last resort option.
Tooth Decay Conclusion
It is important to remember that tooth decay is preventable and even if it does arise it can be treated with minimal care. The key is early diagnosis. The only way to diagnose tooth decay early is through regular dental examinations and routine radiographs. At the first sign of tooth decay call your dentist to evaluate the situation.
Dental signs and symptoms are often overlooked if they do not involve pain. Ignoring the issues may cause much bigger problems for you if not treated. How do you know if you need to see a dentist right away? Below are some signs and symptoms that should give you an idea about when to make an appointment to see your dentist to have things checked further.
Symptoms That Dental Care Is Needed
–Tooth Sensitivity. When a tooth becomes sensitive to sweets, pressure, heat, or cold temperatures it is a sign of a dental problem. Tooth decay, tooth enamel erosion, gum recession, fractures, and nerve trauma are some common causes of tooth sensitivity. If left untreated many of these can lead to more extensive treatments like crowns, root canal therapy, or even tooth loss.
Dental Health Tip: Using toothpaste for sensitive teeth can help decrease the problem, but should still be addressed by the dentist. If the sensitivity is a more recent or sudden development, don’t try to just mask the symptoms, see your dentist and he/she can help you find the best treatment.
–Bleeding Gums When Brushing. Healthy gums do not bleed when brushing and flossing. Bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal disease. In its earliest form, gingivitis, is reversible. Once it progresses, it is becomes harder to treat to restore health. Periodontal disease will lead to gum recession, bone loss, dental infections, and eventually tooth loss. Your hygienist will deep clean around the teeth and gums and give you guidance for better at home hygiene.
Dental Health Tip: Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once per day to keep your gum tissues healthy.
–Bad Breath. Also called Halitosis. The most common cause of bad breath is poor dental hygiene. Other causes of bad breath include dry mouth (xerostomia), uncontrolled diabetes, decay, disease, or even diet. Mouthwashes and mints are a billion dollar business but they mainly mask the problem and do not fix the underlying problem.
Dental Health Tip: Maintain regular dental cleanings to keep plaque and food debris from causing bad breath.
–Oral Ulcers. These can be quite painful with causes ranging from infection (bacterial, viral, or fungal) to apthous ulcers (canker sores), or irritations from dental appliances. It is recommended that any sore lasting more than 5-7 days or with high frequency of recurrence ,should be checked by your dentist to ensure your health.
Dental Health Tip: Choose a toothpaste that is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) free to limit canker sores.
-Pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make the gums more reactive to plaque and easily susceptible to the inflammatory process. Pregnancy gingivitis is a common condition that can be controlled or avoided with diligent at home care and professional cleanings. Periodontal problems during pregnancy have been associated with babies being born with low birth weight.
Dental Health Tip: As soon as you know you are pregnant seek dental care to ensure you do not have any underlying issues that could compromise the health of the growing baby.
–Loose Teeth. Noticeable movement of teeth is a sign of attachment loss of connective tissues. Whether due to trauma, infection, or periodontal disease, mobility of a tooth needs to be checked by your dentist.
Dental Health Tip: At first sign of a loose tooth see your dentist immediately. Healthy teeth should not be loose.
Most dental emergencies can be avoided with routine dental care. Seeing your dentist at the first sign of trouble can save you time and money. Prevention is the best medicine.
While the dental crown itself cannot become decayed, the underlying tooth structure can. A dental crown is placed after careful shaping and preparation of the tooth surface and then inserted over the remaining tooth structure to restore the crown to its proper form and function.
How Does The Tooth Get Decay Under A Dental Crown?
The most vulnerable part of the interface between the dental crown and the tooth is the area where the edge of the crown meets natural tooth structure. If you are not maintaining good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) to remove the plaque that lives under the gumline, you can develop a cavity on the underlying tooth and root areas. Once decay develops, it can progress quickly into the tooth and move up and under the crown, undermining the support for the dental crown. The following things can happen if you get tooth decay on a tooth with a dental crown:
–Simple Dental Filling Placed At Margin Of Dental Crown. If the tooth decay is caught early enough, there are times where a simple filling can be placed to restore the tooth. This is only done when complete removal of decay can be accessed from the area. The seal is not as strong and leakage can occur under the dental crown over time.
–Root Canal Therapy. If the tooth decay gets close to or invades into the nerve of the tooth a root canal will be needed to save the tooth. If the tooth has already had a root canal performed, it will need to be rebuilt back up so that a new crown can be placed.
–Crown Lengthening. A crown lengthening is a dental procedure where a portion of the bone surrounding a tooth is surgically removed to allow the dentist access to decay that might run down the side of the tooth. This gives access to restore the tooth and also allows for proper placement of a new dental crown.
–New Custom Dental Crown Fabricated. In most cases, a new crown will be needed to ensure a proper seal and proper coverage over the existing tooth.
It is important to maintain good dental hygiene but it really becomes important once you have dental crowns. A dental crown generally lasts anywhere from 5-15 years if properly taken care of. If they are not cared for they will not last as long and could develop a bigger issue. The big tip here is to always maintain good dental hygiene and see your dentist regularly to check the crown edges for leakage and decay.