Dr. Kathleen Mullaney • DDS • FAGD

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How Does a Mouth Guard Protect Your Teeth?

How Does a Mouth Guard Protect Your Teeth?

Not only are your teeth crucial for chewing and speaking, but they also play a significant role in your overall appearance and confidence. Taking care of your teeth should be a priority; one essential dental tool is a mouth guard. Mouth guards are protective devices designed to cover your teeth and gums, providing a barrier against potential injuries.

Our Alexandria dentist, Dr. Mullaney, explains how a mouth guard can help protect your teeth here.

What Is a Mouth Guard?

A dental mouth guard is a custom-fitted device typically made of hard plastic. They’re designed to fit over the upper or lower teeth and are usually worn during activities that may pose a risk of dental injuries like teeth grinding (bruxism).

How Do Dental Mouth Guards Work?

Your dentist will conduct a thorough evaluation to determine if you’re suitable for oral appliance therapy. They’ll then take impressions of your teeth to create a custom-made mouthguard that fits perfectly and provides maximum comfort.

5 Things a Mouth Guard Can Protect Your Teeth Against

  1. Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
  2. Another type of guard that people don’t give much thought to is a night guard.

    Teeth grinding or bruxism occurs when someone clenches or grinds their teeth, usually during sleep. This condition can cause serious damage to your teeth, including wear, cracks, fractures, and even tooth loss.

    Most people don’t even know they are grinding at night; some people have symptoms of jaw pain or headaches when they wake up in the morning but don’t know why. A mouthguard works like a protective barrier that prevents your upper and lower teeth from grinding against each other.

  3. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders
  4. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ disorders can cause jaw pain, difficulty opening or closing your mouth, clicking or popping sounds in the jaw, and even headaches.

    A mouthguard can help alleviate symptoms by helping stabilize the jaw joint and reducing muscle strain.

  5. Orthodontic Treatment
  6. Mouth guards can protect your teeth and braces during orthodontic treatment, particularly during activities that could result in dental injuries, such as sports. They can also prevent damage to dental restorations, such as crowns, bridges, or veneers, caused by teeth grinding or clenching.

  7. Sleep Apnea or Snoring
  8. Sometimes, you can use a dental mouthguard to treat sleep apnea or snoring. These devices, known as oral appliances, work by repositioning the jaw to help keep the airway open during sleep, reducing snoring and improving breathing.

  9. Sports Injuries
  10. Imagine you’re a dedicated athlete playing your favorite sport. You’re giving it your all, but suddenly, you experience a traumatic impact that results in a missing tooth. This was the reality for Washington Capitals player Alex Ovechkin, who lost his front tooth to a high stick he took in a game against the Atlanta Thrashers in 2007.

    If you’re involved in sports or any physical activity that poses a risk of dental injuries, a mouth guard is a must. Sports like football, basketball, hockey, and soccer can lead to accidental impacts or collisions that may result in broken, chipped, or even knocked-out teeth. A mouth guard acts as a cushion, absorbing and distributing the force of impact; this prevents direct trauma to your teeth and gums.


Contact Our Dentist in Alexandria, VA

Whether you’re an athlete or someone who grinds your teeth, investing in a dental mouth guard is a smart decision for long-term oral health.

Call 240-532-3335 or contact Dr. Kathleen Mullaney, DDS, today to schedule a consultation for effective treatment with custom-made mouthguards – you’ll be glad you did, and so will your teeth!

Author Bio: Dr. Kathleen Mullaney offers various general and cosmetic dentistry services in Alexandria, VA. She earned her doctorate in dental surgery from the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) and proudly served as a United States Navy dentist before opening her practice. With over 25 years of experience, Dr. Mullaney is delighted to be one of Old Town’s most respected and sought-after dentists! Call 240-532-3335 to schedule an appointment.

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Had my first visit to Dr. Mullaney’s office this month since the pandemic and the experience was gold standard. The safety processes and clean office environment were impeccable. Dr. Mullaney and staff were, as usual, amazing. Every step was explained, the protective garments worn by staff were the best I have experienced. It was a safe and positive visit and I recommend making an appointment!!

I am a new patient. After my first dentist appointment with Dr. Mullaney, I left feeling very informed and in control of ultimately making decisions about the care and treatment I receive. The staff is incredibly kind and knowledgeable. I love that they participate in helping veterans through The Freedom Day USA program. They are committed to providing a very clean and friendly atmosphere. In addition this practice goes out of its way to bring comfort and the latest in dentistry to all their patients.

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Dr. Mullaney and her staff are absolutely wonderful. They are very professional, personable and greet you by name when you walk in the door. Dr. Mullaney is very talented and really has perfected her craft. Even with a last-minute treatment change, she is unwavering in performing the highest quality treatment available. I am extremely grateful to you all for making my visit pleasant and even fun!