Mouth Guards

Mouth guards, also known as sports guards or athletic mouth protectors, are crucial pieces of equipment for any child participating in potentially injurious recreational or sporting activities.  Fitting snugly over the upper teeth, mouth guards protect the entire oral region from traumatic injury, preserving both the esthetic appearance and the health of the smile.  In addition, mouth guards are sometimes used to prevent tooth damage in children who grind (brux) their teeth at night.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) in particular, advocates for the use of dental mouth guards during any sporting or recreational activity.  Most store-bought mouth guards cost fewer than ten dollars, making them a perfect investment for every parent.

How can mouth guards protect my child?

The majority of sporting organizations now require participants to routinely wear mouth guards.   Though mouth guards are primarily designed to protect the teeth, they can also vastly reduce the degree of force transmitted from a trauma impact point (jaw) to the central nervous system (base of the brain).  In this way, mouth guards help minimize the risk of traumatic brain injury, which is especially important for younger children.

Mouth guards also reduce the prevalence of the following injuries:

  • Cheek lesions
  • Concussions
  • Gum and soft tissue injuries
  • Jawbone fractures
  • Lip lesions
  • Neck injuries
  • Tongue lesions
  • Tooth fractures

What type of mouth guard should I purchase for my child?

Though there are literally thousands of mouth guard brands, most brands fall into three major categories: stock mouth guards, boil and bite mouth guards, and customized mouth guards.

Some points to consider when choosing a mouth guard include:

  • How much money is available to spend?
  • How often does the child play sports?
  • What kind of sport does the child play? (Basketball and baseball tend to cause the most oral injuries).

In light of these points, here is an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of mouth guard:

Stock mouth guards – These mouth guards can be bought directly off the shelf and immediately fitted into the child’s mouth.  The fit is universal (one-size-fits-all), meaning that that the mouth guard doesn’t adjust.  Stock mouth guards are very cheap, easy to fit, and quick to locate at sporting goods stores.  Pediatric dentists favor this type of mouth guard least, as it provides minimal protection, obstructs proper breathing and speaking, and tends to be uncomfortable.

Boil and bite mouth guards – These mouth guards are usually made from thermoplastic and are easily located at most sporting goods stores.  First, the thermoplastic must be immersed in hot water to make it pliable, and then it must be pressed on the child’s teeth to create a custom mold.  Boil and bite mouth guards are slightly more expensive than stock mouth guards, but tend to offer more protection, feel more comfortable in the mouth, and allow for easy speech production and breathing.

Customized mouth guards – These mouth guards offer the greatest degree of protection, and are custom-made by the dentist.  First, the dentist makes an impression of the child’s teeth using special material, and then the mouth guard is constructed over the mold.  Customized mouth guards are more expensive and take longer to fit, but are more comfortable, orthodontically correct, and fully approved by the dentist.

If you have questions or concerns about choosing a mouth guard for your child, please contact our office.

Testimonials.

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Testimonials

Dr. Hekmat's chairside manner is something that should be cloned, and all young dentists and doctors should be able to see the tender insight that this man gives his patients. Dr. Hekmat is one of the nicest, most skillful, most dedicated men I have ever met. I can't believe I was so lucky to have found him in such a huge, busy metropolis as Los Angeles.

John Burbank, CA

Dr. Hekmat has been my trusted family dentist for many years, not only taking care of me--but my wife, sister, mother, brother-in-law and mother-in-law, too! From the warm smiles that greet me when I walk in the door to the compassionate, skillful and concerned care that Dr. Hekmat and his staff provide, my visits to his office are always like visiting a member of the family. ...And I don’t want to forget to mention that I appreciate the fact that in busy Westwood, Dr. Hekmat still provides completely free, validated parking. That’s no small feat in my part of town!

Louis Santa Monica, CA

Dr. Hekmat and his team are true professionals. He is kind and always has time to answer ALL of my questions and concerns. I began visiting him after a a friend referred to me several years ago and I have not visited any other dentists since getting work done with him because he continuously provides me and my family with excellent work. I have had a root canal, crowns, bonding, whitening and removal of amalgam fillings with him and I could not be happier with his work.

He is also totally available for emergencies, something other doctors shirk at. I was on my way to LAX when my front tooth (it was being prepped for a root canal) totally came off, I panicked, called him and drove myself to his office within a hour he had me all patched up.

He never tries to sell you anything, he and his staff know my name and always make me feel welcome and calm the anxiety that comes with getting dental work done.

Lizzie West Los Angeles, CA

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