A guide to easy-to-wear oral appliances
Protecting smiles from sports injuries and other destructive conditions
An entire (and important) category of dental services revolves around oral appliance therapy (OAT). When expertly planned and monitored by our dentist in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, Dr. Douglas Hoppe, these oral appliances can be used to prevent everything from sports-related dental injuries and snoring to the damage and effects caused by chronic teeth grinding (bruxism) and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJDs).
Mouthguards for sleeping
Generally, OAT involves wearing oral appliances or devices designed to be worn in the mouth. At your dentist’s office, they are customized to fit your mouth’s one-of-a-kind contours and specifications. This feature helps support the most effective treatment and the most comfortable and safe treatment experience.
During regular check-ups, it is not uncommon for Dr. Hoppe to notice excessive signs of wear and tear to the teeth and dental work. Such damage may be indicative of bruxism or chronic teeth grinding. Many individuals do not realize they are grinding their teeth until our dentist points out this potential risk. Bruxism may go undetected because it often occurs at night or during sleep. So, patients are not aware of the problem! It can be problematic, however, as habitual teeth grinding is associated with the following:
- Damage to the protective enamel covering the tooth
- Chipped teeth
- Fractures or cracks
- Heightened sensitivity or discomfort (due to enamel erosion and excessive wear)
Furthermore, many individuals with bruxism also experience symptoms of TMJDs. It’s thought that severe and persistent forces placed on the teeth “stress” the jaw joints that are part of an intricate, interconnected oral “system.” When this occurs, patients may experience annoying or downright debilitating headaches; neck, back, and shoulder pain; frequent earaches; tinnitus; painful chewing; jaw stiffness; and dizziness.
Fortunately, we can prescribe easy-to-wear and easy-to-care-for portable oral devices to protect the teeth from bruxism and improve or resolve the effects of TMJDs. Some of these “guards” may simply buffer contact between the upper and lower teeth to prevent dental damage, whereas other devices or splints may actually slightly reposition the teeth. So, the opposing back teeth do not touch and place extreme pressure on the joints and other tissues, thereby easing the frequency and severity of headaches and other symptoms.
Still, other types of appliances are designed to be worn during sports activities. In fact, these mouthguards are one of the best investments that parents can make for their young athletes or other active types can make for themselves and their smiles. When planned at our dental office, you can trust that the device will be made precisely. The sportsguard is, in turn, comfortable to wear and does not inhibit breathing or performance. Plus, a precision-made guard fabricated from high-quality materials provides optimal protection to the teeth, gums, lips, and other parts of the mouth and face. Our sports mouthguards are built to last, which makes them a terrific value. OTC mouthguards that are created to fit all mouths tend to slide around. Because they are uncomfortable, they do not get worn! What good is a device that is not used? Additionally, these guards are not made from the same quality, durable materials. They may break and require frequent replacement.
These are just a few of the examples of OAT at work. We look forward to working with you to design custom appliances that optimally support the health and beauty of your family’s smiles. Call (517) 667-7066 to schedule an appointment with the team at Douglas Hoppe DDS at our office in Eaton Rapids, MI.