Protecting your smile can make a significant difference in your general health, appearance, and confidence levels when interacting with people. However, you may constantly engage in high-impact activities that are risky to your safety. You may suffer teeth loss or severe mouth injuries because of not wearing protective gear. You can avoid dealing with these hardships by wearing mouthguards or other prescribed oral appliances. By consulting your dentist and finding the most suitable treatment option for you, your oral health and overall well-being are maintained.

At The Downey Dentist, we are an excellent choice for any patient in need of mouthguards and oral appliances in Downey, California. With our many years of experience, we have gained enough knowledge about the various options available to meet each patient's needs and the importance of following up with you after you start wearing your appliance. Our services are available to help you protect your dental structure and correct any disorders associated with deteriorating oral health.

Mouthguards and Their Uses

Anyone who plays high-impact sports has had to wear a mouthguard for his/her safety before starting the game. For most sports, wearing a mouthguard is a prerequisite for being on the field, rink, or pitch because of its importance in safeguarding your teeth and jaws from trauma. Thus, mouthguards serve as a shield to soften the impact you may be subjected to in the course of playing. With a mouthguard on, you are less likely to lose a tooth or bite yourself.

Since you may require the appliance for varying needs, different mouthguards are available in the market. Their design, functionality, and compatibility greatly depend on where you acquire the mouthguard.

For example, you could opt to purchase the appliance from a sports or drug store. Alternatively, you may visit a dentist and have a mouthguard designed for your needs. Based on the differences in availability and creation, you can select three types of mouthguards including:

In-Stock Mouthguards

Mouthguards are widely available in numerous stores, especially those curated for sports equipment. Therefore, some may opt to purchase a stock mouthguard, also known as the pre-made type. The name comes from the readily manufactured appliance that is also ready for purchase, provided it fits. Without prior consultation with a dentist, you may settle on this option based on the assumption that you will find a fitting mouthguard in a sports store.

However, the reality is that most pre-made mouthguards do not provide a comfortable and effective fit. This is because finding your perfect size may be difficult, leading to a forced feel at some point. As a result, you may be preoccupied with adjusting the mouthguard during an important tournament, costing you success.

Additionally, finding a reliable brand with quality plastic used in production is not always guaranteed because marketing strategies may be inaccurate. For most people in need of mouthguards, this may lead to incurred costs as poor-quality appliances will often break, leading to regular replacements.

Custom Made Mouthguards

Visiting your dentist is the recommended option, as you have a chance to have a custom-made mouthguard designed for you. With a dentist’s help, you can also understand how mouthguards may change your teeth’ alignment, especially if they are uncomfortable and do not fit well. Subsequently, the assistance you receive is more beneficial than being unsure about the quality and effectiveness you receive from other mouthguards.

Moreover, using a custom-made mouthguard enables you to consult your dentist at any time in case of emerging issues. For example, you can contact him/her if the mouthguard feels a bit too tight or out of place in the mouth. This way, you do not have to struggle and stick through the pain, even when it is detrimental to your well-being.

Boil and Bite Mouthguards

Thirdly, you may opt for a boil and bite mouthguard instead of the first two discussed. As the name suggests, you need to place the mouthguard in hot water before wearing it. The water temperature will make the mouthguard easy to mold into your mouth's shape for a comfortable fit.

The instructions may suggest leaving the mouthguard in hot water for a few minutes, then using your tongue and fingers to mold it in your mouth. After some time, the appliance takes the shape of your teeth and is ready for use.  Although the boil and bite mouthguard can accommodate users with various dental structures, some may still find it less comfortable than custom-made pieces. Nevertheless, it may be a good alternative if you prefer molding the mouthguard to your preferred fit.

Bite Guards and Their Uses

Apart from mouthguards, we are also certified to prescribe other oral appliances depending on your medical needs. Among these appliances is a bite guard that is commonly used to prevent you from grinding teeth. Typically, most people with the condition are prone to grinding the teeth more when asleep, meaning that they may lack control over how intensely they do it.

Subsequently, a common side effect of teeth grinding is wearing out your enamel. Over time, your teeth become weaker and are prone to cracking or losing their ridges and cusps. While you may not notice a significant difference at first, simple activities like chewing may become more difficult or uncomfortable as time goes on.

For others, the grinding of teeth at night results in painful jaws, neck, and headaches. These symptoms arise from the high pressure you apply, meaning that your muscles and joints are strained. In some cases, you may also rest your teeth in a clenched position and cause the same effects.

Visiting your dentist for a proper diagnosis is ideal, as you will have a sustainable means of managing your condition. He/she will recommend using a bite guard to create a barrier between the teeth on your upper and lower jaw. Hence, grinding the teeth will be more difficult because of the newly created space.  After a few days, you will begin to notice positive changes in the treatment and ward off the habit completely.

Oral Mandibular Advancement Device and Their Uses

Another useful oral appliance is the mandibular advancement device, used to manage sleep apnea. The condition often occurs when the muscles surrounding your airway fail to hold their position. Consequently, your airway is blocked, and breathing is inhibited for some time.

With the mandibular advancement device, your dentist will push your lower jaw to maintain the open airway and thus prevent sleep apnea. Often, you will have the condition diagnosed first, followed by designing the device for a comfortable fit. You will be ready to wear it when going to sleep in a few days after the consultation.

Care Tips for your Mouthguards and Oral Appliances

Taking care of your oral appliances is necessary, as it determines the value you receive, as well as the effectiveness of treatment if you hope to correct a disorder. For most patients, incidents like losing mouthguards, accidentally breaking oral appliances, and causing deformities are not uncommon.

We understand that sometimes unforeseen incidents may arise, leading to the deterioration of your oral appliance’s quality. Subsequently, we advise our patients to observe the following care tips and routines to obtain the full benefits of wearing these appliances.

Do Not Expose Your Oral Appliances to High Heat Levels

Normally, most oral appliances, including mouthguards, are made of hard plastics. These chemical components are prone to melting, regardless of how sturdy or firm they feel. Therefore, exposing them to high degrees of heat is discouraged, primarily because you risk deforming them or changing their sturdiness. Ultimately, they will work less effectively than required, leading to additional costs to replace them.

We discourage patients from inserting their oral appliances in boiling water based on the extreme temperatures it exposes to the plastic. Furthermore, exposure to direct sunlight also had the same damaging effect arising from the extreme heat. To avoid the risk of exposure, you can purchase a small storage box that keeps the oral appliance or mouthguard safe.

Clean Your Appliances Every Day

High hygiene standards are also important to maintain, as disease-causing microbes can quickly breed in your appliances. Your dentist will recommend cleaning them using your toothbrush and toothpaste for complete cleansing. Some people also prefer dipping their appliances in a mouthwash solution for sanitation. While no damages are likely to arise from this, you should be mindful about dipping the appliance for too long to avoid discoloration.

Ask for Custom Oral Appliances if you Have Braces or Retainers On

When you have Orthodontic appliances on your teeth, using mouth guards or oral appliances can be difficult. The metal brackets will reduce the space occupied by the plastic layer in your appliance, meaning that you are likely to be uncomfortable. To avoid the inconvenience, you can request custom-made appliances that accommodate your braces or retainers. Your comfort should always be a priority, even when accessing treatment or safety using mouthguards or oral appliances.

Preparation Processes You Can Expect Before Receiving Your Oral Appliance

After consulting your dentist about the use of mouthguards or other oral appliances, and why you need one, he/she will guide you through several preparation procedures. They aim at ensuring you receive the most suitable design and response to your condition, especially for patients dealing with sleep apnea. Thus, we recommend identifying the possible preparation processes you are likely to undertake. As a result, you will be ready to submit to the dentist's directives and inquiries comprehensively.

The first and most common pre-treatment step is providing details about your medical history. While the step may seek disconnection to the treatment you are about to receive, your dentist will obtain invaluable information for later use. For example, finding out if you have a history of bleeding gums, inflammations, and smoking can help us determine whether your teeth will adjust better to the boil and bite or a custom-made mouthguard. Thanks to the background information, you can avoid dealing with unwanted conditions arising from the newly fitted oral appliance.

Secondly, your dentist will conduct a physical examination where he/she observes your teeth alignment and jawbone placement. The step is relevant because it lets us gauge the type of oral appliance that works seamlessly with your dental structure. Moreover, a physical examination may provide an early diagnosis, particularly for patients with Temporomandibular Disorder. Although your dentist will have to administer more intricate tests, physical observations offer a reliable starting point for treatment.

After making a preliminary diagnosis or observation of your mouth, including the teeth and jaw placement, we will direct you to have additional examinations using various technologies. The acquired information will help us provide accurate designs for your mouth guards and treat your sleep apnea or bruxism without changing your general teeth placement.

A necessary step involves taking study models of impressions of your teeth and jaw position. To do this, we use a specific dentist's mold that is safe to place in your mouth. Your dentist will mix up the mold minutes before you have the impressions taken, then use plastic or metal holders to place the mold and insert it in your mouth. Within a few seconds, the shape of your teeth will imprint on the mold, leaving an accurate replication of your dental arrangement. We do this for the upper and lower jaw before completing the process.

Once the mold dries, we use the study models to design or recommend an oral appliance that matches your mouth shape and call you in for them a few days afterward.

On the other hand, some treatment processes may also require your dentist to use X-Ray imaging, especially for jaw realignment. You should therefore prepare to have several possible images taken, depending on the type of diagnosis intended. Some common images required include OPGs and Lateral Cephalograms for cross-section and panoramic views of your X-ray dental structure.

The requirements set by your dentist are crucial to the success of the oral appliance you receive, regardless of its purpose. Therefore, following the directives and meeting the requirements is advisable to help you avoid breaking and regularly replacing your oral appliances. Overall, you save on costs and uphold safety and health by receiving a functional oral appliance designed especially for you.

The Cost of Mouthguards and Oral Appliances

The price of mouthguards and different oral appliances varies depending on the type, purpose, and dentist's recommendations. Therefore, you want to ensure that you are adequately prepared to start your treatment before choosing to begin the process. You can create an elaborate budget by researching the price ranges for the oral appliances prescribed by your dentist.

If you intend to obtain a mouthguard for treatment, your budget will range between $100 to $800. As discussed, the price varies depending on the type of mouthguard recommended and the quality of the product. Patients in need of oral appliances for sleep apnea may part with significantly larger sums ranging between $1800 to $2000.

Moreover, you should factor in additional costs incurred when undergoing pre-treatment procedures. For example, we recommend factoring in your initial consultation fees and X-ray imaging costs, among others. The additional details will help you avoid surprise expenses that may slow down your access to your oral appliance or mouthguard.

We understand that the expenses involved in obtaining the required mouthguards or oral appliances can discourage you from seeking treatment. However, you do not have to worry about incurring expensive medical bills based on the multiple alternative payment options that we provide. Our main goal is to ensure that each patient has his/her needs met, regardless of their financial access.

By speaking to our clinic personnel, you can receive more information on the payment plans available for patients to begin treatment using oral appliances or mouthguards for safety. You will find a friendly alternative from our flexible rates, giving you the chance to worry less about making payments upfront and focus on having the oral appliance or mouthguard fitted.

Lastly, we accept payments made through insurance companies. Since some service providers may only cover part of the expenses, we will guide you on completing payment without imposing too much financial pressure.

Contact a General Dentist Near Me

Suffering conditions like sleep apnea or having your teeth broken after high impact can be detrimental to your well-being. Wearing your mouthguard or a prescribed oral appliance is the best way to protect your oral health and prevent the side effects of teeth grinding, jaw misalignment, and sleep apnea. When seeking treatment, you should partner with a highly experienced dentist who can recommend the best appliance for your case.

He/she should also be capable of running the required tests and determining the cause of your condition and how to best manage it. At The Downey Dentist, you will receive exceptional general dental services to help you maintain a healthy and aesthetic smile. Our team has worked with many patients; thus, they could recommend and design ideal oral appliances for their use. For more information, reach us today at 562-746-0350.