We tend to take our teeth for granted. After all, they’re always with us, and they do a pretty good job accomplishing what we need done. Sometimes we even imagine that our teeth are invincible, able to take on any task. After all, enamel is the strongest material in the body – shouldn’t teeth be able to do anything?

Sadly, this is far from true. We should never treat our teeth as tools, but should grant them daily respect and care. In some instances, they even require additional protection to thrive.

With the summer approaching, there are plenty of opportunities for dental emergencies ahead. When we get outside and get more active, our smiles are often collateral damage. Dr. Kim and our staff hope to offer some tips, tools, and advice that will keep your smile whole, healthy, and happy. If you ever have questions, just get in touch!

When Your Teeth Need Extra Protection

  • Playing sports – So much happens during athletic activity, and there’s usually a chance of taking an elbow, ball, or bat to the mouth. Whether a child or adult, it’s safest to protect your pearly whites from potential harm. While certain sports are more contact-heavy than others, dentists recommend wearing a mouth guard during any sport where taking a blow to the mouth is possible. Don’t worry about looking a little nerdy – you’ll be happier in the end when you’ve avoided a trip to the emergency room.
  • Sleeping – Countless individuals suffer from bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding. This problem goes so often unnoticed because it takes place during sleep, when you’re not aware of what you’re doing. If you’re waking up with a sore jaw, sore teeth, headaches, and exhaustion, it’s a good idea to get your teeth checked out for signs of bruxing.
  • Daily life – Never use your teeth for anything other than eating! You shouldn’t bite into anything that isn’t meant to be bitten. If you’re substituting your teeth for a bottle opener, pair of scissors, or other household tool, take the extra moment to find the proper device. This helps you avoid chipping your enamel, fillings, bonding, veneers, or crowns – and assists your smile in lasting as long as possible.

Dental Mouth Guards – On the Field and Off

The simplest, most comfortable way to protect your teeth from damage is a mouth guard. There are a few different types of guards, and Dr. Kim will talk to you about which one is right for you.

  • Athletic mouth guards – When it comes to athletic mouth guards, you have two options: to get a drugstore guard, or get a custom-made one from your dentist. While boil-and-bite guards accomplish some level of protection, they’re not as effective as custom guards, which have actually been shown to help prevent concussions (in addition to tooth protection).
  • Night guards – Bruxism is bad for your teeth, jaw, and daily life. If you’ve been struggling to stop grinding, this increases your stress, which only leads to more intense grinding. It’s a vicious cycle! Break free of it with a night guard. This custom-made mouthpiece fits over your teeth to protect them from the pressure, friction, and excessive forces of grinding. Some guards also stabilize your lower jaw to prevent further aggravation.

  • TMJ splints – If grinding has plagued you for some time, your jaw might begin responding negatively. If you’re experiencing jaw pain from a TMJ disorder, a TMJ splint will help you move past the problem and toward daily (and nightly) comfort.

Have questions about your tooth protection? Just get in touch!

Seattle Sedation Dentist | Best Dentist Seattle | Sedation Dentistry Seattle
Dr. Kim Dr. Kim

Dr. Kim Okamura

I'm Dr. Kim Okamura and this blog is a product of my love of dentistry. I dedicate it to all the patients I have served so that they may better understand my craft. The information here will give you and others the power to maintain and protect one of your most priceless gifts ... your SMILE.