What is oral appliance therapy? From mouthguards to nightguards, a range of effective, easy-to-wear treatments

Oral appliance therapy presents an excellent opportunity for Dr. Jamie J. Alexander and our team at Jamie J. Alexander, D.D.S., PA, in Boynton Beach, Florida to prevent conditions that mar the appearance and health of the smile. Appliances like mouthguards protect against oral injuries caused by blows to the face while playing sports. So, they prevent fractures, avulsed or knocked-out teeth, soft tissue injuries, and other sports-related oral trauma.

Appliances such as nightguards prevent damage and can be prescribed and customized to restore the teeth, gums, and other structures and systems back to health. Depending on your needs, these guards are appropriate for conditions such as bruxism (chronic teeth grinding), sleep-disordered breathing or sleep apnea, and TMJ disorder symptoms. 

Regardless of the type of appliance Dr. Alexander recommends, patients have peace of mind that each device is customized to precisely fit the unique contours of their mouth. Proper fit further supports comfort and patient compliance. Patients are more likely to wear these devices when they feel comfortable. Plus, a custom fit supports optimal treatment and protection from blows to the mouth or other threats, such as excessive forces placed on the teeth from chronic bruxism. 

Sports mouth guards

If you (or your children) are active in sports that involve lots of physical contact with other players and equipment, mouthguards are a smart investment in your oral health, overall health, and even athletic performance. Our guards are precisely fitted to your mouth. They are made from durable and high-quality materials. All of these factors add up to devices that are comfortable and easy to wear and that last longer. These professional, custom mouthguards do not inhibit your endurance or slip around. So your performance and function are maintained. 

Due to the quality of our guards, these devices do protect the teeth, lips, gums, jaws, and other facial tissues from injury. Other off-the-shelf or boil-and-bite guards are not designed to your mouth’s unique specifications. They are not made from the same durable materials. In turn, such “universal” sports mouthguards can break, not provide the protection athletes need, or they may not get worn because they are uncomfortable and slip around. 

Portrait of beautiful patient holding orthodontic retainers in dental clinic

Night guards 

Bruxism is a fairly common condition that Dr. Alexander sees and treats. It is characterized by persistent teeth grinding. While patients frequently grind their teeth during sleep, daytime bruxism tends to arise when individuals are concentrating or stressed out. There are “telltale signs” of daytime or nocturnal bruxism, including chipped teeth, fractures, enamel erosion, and excessive wear and tear to dental restorations. Bruxism is also associated with TMJD symptoms. Any time the jaw joints and muscles are stressed by behaviors such as grinding your teeth, you can experience habitual headaches, earaches, radiating facial and jaw pain, and other symptoms. 

Fortunately, we design custom appliances that protect your teeth and jaw joints from damage. These appliances slip into the mouth and act as a “buffer” by evenly distributing occlusal or biting forces across the guard. Custom nightguards further reduce clenching muscle activity. Some designs are so small and unobtrusive that they may be worn discreetly, comfortably, and hassle-free throughout the day, for instance, while working when patients may be more prone to muscle tension and behaviors like grinding their teeth. 

Still, other types of oral splints or appliances can be customized to reposition the jaws. In doing so, oral tissues that become overly lax during sleep are also repositioned. They do not get in the way and block your airway during sleep. You can breathe and rest comfortably and uninterrupted throughout the night. So, oral appliance therapy can even be a life-saver for patients with some forms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). It is an easy-to-wear and easy-to-care-for alternative to noisy, high-maintenance CPAP machines for some individuals with OSA. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the myriad types of oral appliances that are available to treat a range of dental, oral, and maxillofacial conditions. Get to know the many options for non-invasive, highly portable, stress-free, affordable, and customized treatment. 

Schedule an appointment at Jamie J. Alexander, D.D.S., PA. Call (561) 732-8877 to reach our Boynton Beach, FL office.