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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.

My Perio Protect Journey, Part 2
I arrived at the Western Dental office in Hawthorne, California for a dental check-up. Being a new patient and a member of the Western Dental Plan, my exam and x-rays were free of charge. The main purpose of my visit, though, was to begin the Perio Protect program. Dental appointments can give me a twinge of anxiety, but the staff at the office made me feel calm and welcome. The first step of the process was getting a thorough set of digital x-rays from a very friendly and efficient x-ray technician (I was done in about five minutes). They needed those to build my file and to make sure I didn’t have any hidden problems before starting Perio Protect. But all looked good. Next was a teeth cleaning. The hygienist went to work on my teeth, cleaning, polishing and checking the depth of the gum “pockets” around each tooth. Anything over 3 millimeters, she explained, indicated warning signs of possible periodontal disease, or at the least, gingivitis (a milder form of the disease). I checked out ok, except for a few “4’s” around the back molars. Her advice: give extra attention when brushing, and make sure to floss. And Perio Protect was definitely going to help. After a thorough exam by the dentist, a dental assistant prepped the trays used to take impressions of my upper and lower arches. (The impressions would be used to make the customized Perio Protect trays I would need for my home-care routine.) She filled the trays with impression material (kind of like soft Silly Putty), then placed the first tray over my upper teeth and held it in place for a few minutes while the material set. After repeating the process on my lower teeth and rinsing out remnants of the impression material, they had all they needed. My part was done, for now. The office would send the impressions to a lab to make my Perio Protect trays. I’ll be back in a few weeks to pick them up and get started with the program. Can’t wait to reap the benefits!
My Perio Protect Journey, Part 1
Perio Protect is a take-home dental care treatment that prevents gum disease (with the added, long-term benefits of killing bacteria, freshening breath and whitening teeth). A Perio Protect kit consists of two light-weight dental trays made of a soft, pliable material that fit snugly over upper and lower teeth. Each tray is filled with a small amount of Perio Protect gel and worn for 15 minutes each day. The following describes one patient’s experience. Everyone loves the feel of a clean, fresh mouth. So when I heard how Perio Protect could maintain healthy gums and guarantee fresh breath by killing bacteria, I wanted to learn more. Being in the dental business, I was invited to attend a training session for dental hygienists that highlighted how Perio Protect works and the benefits of the treatment. By wearing customized trays filled with a small amount of Perio Protect Gel for 15 minutes each day, powerful medication is delivered deep below the gum line, reaching every possible nook and cranny where bacteria hide and multiply. Its clinical benefit is in the prevention and treatment of gum disease, but Perio Protect also alleviates swollen, sensitive or bleeding gums, maintains fresh breath and restores overall oral health. Over time, the mild concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the gel whitens teeth. Even though I’m meticulous about my oral hygiene, I learned what I was missing with my toothbrush, rinses and floss. I got a lot more detail than I needed, but enough to make me schedule an appointment the next day. I’ll report back after my visit. Stay tuned…