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Mouth Guards: An Essential Piece of Athletic Equipment

Mouth guards are not just for football players or boxers. They’re appropriate for any athlete who may be subject to accidental jabs to the face by an errant elbow or ball – gymnasts, water polo players, wrestlers, hockey players, basketball players, baseball players – or anyone with an active lifestyle.

There are basically three types of mouth guards:

Custom mouth guards. These are individually designed in a dentist’s office by taking an impression of your teeth and then building a mouth guard over a model of them. Custom mouth guards will provide the most comfort and best fit and, for those reasons, are preferred by most athletes.  They are, however, the most expensive option.

Boil-and-bite mouth guards. These mouth guards can be purchased over-the-counter at a drug store or sporting goods store. They are made of hard plastic in a pre-formed shape that are softened by submerging in boiling water. You then create a customized fit by biting down on the plastic while it is still warm, allowing it to mold to the shape of your teeth. They generally work better than stock mouth guards.

Stock mouth guards. Inexpensive and ready-to-wear, these mouth guards rarely fit well and can make talking and breathing difficult.

Why a mouth guard is important

Wearing a mouth guard can protect your mouth and teeth from any trauma to the mouth that may cause bleeding and lacerations to the gums, or loosen, crack or knock out a tooth resulting from a fall, tackle or hit to the face. If you wear braces or any other dental appliance affixed to your lower jaw, your dentist may recommend one for you as well. It’s a wise investment that will protect your teeth and any dental work you may have had.

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How to Get the Most from Your Dental Plan
  Going to the dentist is probably the last thing on your mind this holiday season. But while you’re making your to-do list, you might add “make dentist appointment” because December is an ideal time for a visit. Kids are out of school for their holiday break, appointment slots are available, and for many of us, dental plan benefits expire at the end of the year.  That makes getting in to see the dentist a higher priority this month.   If you’re in the middle of dental treatment, it can be important to make that next visit. For example, as patients receiving a dental implant know, there are several steps to receiving your implant. If your last appointment was for bone restoration a few months ago, you may be ready for placement of the implant. Or the doctor may have your permanent crown ready to replace that temporary crown you received a few weeks ago.   Scheduling a cleaning with the hygienist is wise every six months, and more often if you had periodontal care on your last visit. Coming in for an appointment now to continue treatment you’ve started means you can use up deductibles and maximize your plan’s benefits this year.   You may also want to start needed treatment with any remaining benefits you may have this year, and then pick up where you left off with fresh new benefits in January. Many people split care over two year’s benefits this way for best coverage.   Don’t neglect your oral health altogether this holiday season. Squeeze in an hour of your day to see your dentist just one more time before year end.  You’ll know you’re getting the most out of your dental plan, and you’ll feel good about starting off the New Year with a fresh new smile!
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The common treatment for a cavity is a dental filling which, in most cases, replaces the decaying portion of a tooth and inhibits further deterioration. But how long does a dental filling last? The question of the life expectancy of a filling doesn’t get asked often, perhaps because most people just assume it lasts a lifetime. The lifespan of a dental filling is dependent on a number of factors, such as the type of filling used, the size of filling required and, most importantly, your level of dental care and maintenance. The passage of time is a big factor affecting anything material, including dental fillings. So, it’s important to understand that dental fillings may not last forever. Some types of dental fillings more durable than others. The different types of dental fillings: 1.  Composite fillings: Also called white fillings, they are quite common and have the advantage of appearing as the same color as your teeth, giving your teeth a more natural appearance. Composite fillings contain quartz which provide durability. Nevertheless, composite fillings have the least life expectancy; on average they can last 7-10 years. 2.  Silver fillings: Commonly known as amalgam fillings, silver fillings are quite rugged as they can withstand everyday wear and tear. They have their own shortcomings, like being highly visible, which can be a drawback for many. Silver fillings have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. 3.  Gold fillings: Gold is a very valuable and expensive commodity and you can expect it for fillings as well. Gold fillings can cost up to 10 times more than the silver fillings, and just like silver fillings are very visible. You can expect a gold filling to last from 15 years to as long as 30 years. If you have a cavity and you’re wondering which kind of filling would be best for you, talk to your dentist, who will explain the pros and cons of treatment and discuss your options with you.