Category Archives: dental emergency

Improve Your Smile. Porcelain Veneers Can Make A Beautiful Difference!

In about anything these days, what defines ‘quality’ and enhances longevity begins with the material — from clothing to tires to furniture and on and on, your investment in the very best pays off by giving the results you most desire.

When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, the materials used and the skills of the dentist are significant components of getting the most from your investment. Most of us have seen people who have had obvious dental work – NEVER the goal! In cosmetic dentistry, the goal is to create a beautiful smile that looks like you were born with!

Smile enhancement typically focuses on the front 6 – 10 teeth most visible in a full smile. These are the teeth you want to have the most natural look and feel possible in shape, shade, opalescence (the way light is reflected) and luminosity (the opaqueness).

In most cases, we use porcelain veneers to re-create appealing smiles that are balanced to facial features. Porcelain is the closest thing in durability and appearance to natural teeth and provides the best longevity of all dental materials. Additionally, porcelain resists staining better than other materials.

When replacing fillings, porcelain can be also be used for inlays or onlays to give the most natural appearance. When laughing, for example, using porcelain means the ‘tops’ of teeth won’t reveal signs of dental work. It can be precisely shade-matched to blend into existing teeth and, again, with excellent durability.

Yet, we all know even the best materials can disappoint when applied by substandard skills or inexperienced hands. For example, investing in a beautiful cashmere coat can be a waste of exquisite material if cheap thread is used and the workmanship is shoddy.

Choosing the right cosmetic dentist for you begins with a consultation appointment. During this time, you can ask questions, such as:

• What advanced training have you had that qualifies you in cosmetic dentistry?

• How will you check my bite after this treatment to ensure a proper fit?

• How do you select the dental lab who creates the veneers (or other ‘restorations’)?

• How long have you been in dentistry and what do you do to fine-tune your skills as new techniques and materials come available?

Also, visit the dentist’s web site Smile Gallery to see some examples of before-&-after’s. Look for patient quotes on the site to see if their words are reassuring to you personally.

Patient of Dr. Ban Barbat

When visiting the dentist’s office, look to see if he or she has displayed examples of their work, either in framed photography of actual patients or in albums in the reception or consultation rooms. A dentist who is skilled and experienced is confident showcasing her work!

Porcelain veneers will give you a beautiful result, if in the right hands. Your new smile should make you FEEL wonderful and inspired to share it often! An attractive smile should also get complimented by others, even strangers! That’s a terrific feeling and a sure sign that your investment was a wise one!

Discuss your smile during a free consultation. Call 586-739-2155 to arrange a time when we can sit together and determine what may be best for you.

While you’re here, we can also have our Financial Coordinator explain easy payment plans that can help you make affordable, monthly payments while enjoying your fabulous, new smile!

 

Afraid Of The Dentist? Tips To Help You Achieve The Smile You Desire!

Fear of dentistry is a common problem, maybe more than most people realize. Some surveys estimate that, worldwide, anywhere from 13% to 24% people struggle with it. In the U.S., an estimated 75% of adults have some level of fear associated with dental visits. Of those, 5 – 10% can be categorized as dental phobics, adults who are so fearful of dentistry that they avoid treatment until pain forces them to seek care.

For most who deal with dental fear, however, it is manageable. Once the individual has found a dentist he or she trusts, many relax. A few other things can help fearful patients get through their dental visits without a white-knuckled grip on the treatment chair. These include:

• Soothing Office Environment: When a dental office doesn’t have a look, feel or smell of a dental office, it can relax anxious patients from the get-go. For example, our Reception Area features a beverage bar and wide screen monitor of beautiful nature videos set to soothing music. We’ve had many patients comment on the relaxing sensation they get from watching and listening to these clips.

• Well-managed Appointments: A long wait in a reception area can cause anxiety to build up. We want your brief wait to be a “catch your breath” opportunity, allowing you to relax. Our goal is to ensure our patients feel they are a priority from arrival through check-out. This is why we are so committed to seeing patients within 10 minutes of their appointed time. In some instances, emergencies or unpredictable situations can cause delays. However, we try to keep the waiting patient informed when this occurs to prevent anxiety from building.

• Relaxing Distractions: When patients listen to music or watch a movie, their focus is often taken off the treatment they’re receiving. For fearful patients, this can help. As you are being seated in the treatment chair, ask about music and video choices. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at our vast inventory of selections!

Dr. Barbat with happy, relaxed patient.

• Good Communication: While some patients prefer to be distracted from what’s taking place in their mouths, others feel more confident knowing each step. Before, during and even after a procedure, we keep patients informed of what we are doing so they feel a sense of control. During this process, we may also use monitors to show images of areas being treated and to explain the treatment’s advantages.

• Oral Sedation: Some patients prefer the added relaxation of Oral Sedation. This deep relaxation aid is in pill form and takes effect even before the patient arrives. Although the patient can walk to the chair and is not ‘officially’ asleep, Oral Sedation does provide a dozing state throughout treatment. Recovery is quick and most people have little or no memory of the procedure after.

• I.V. Sedation (Twilight Sleep): We have certain patients who wish to be “put under” for certain dental procedures. For these, we recommend I.V. Sedation, or “twilight sleep.” This is a deeper sleep-state of sedation that is administered in the vein by a trained professional. As patients snooze, the procedure is completed while they are carefully monitored by trained staff and safety equipment throughout (as with Oral Sedation as well). I.V. Sedation typically erases all memory of the procedure after but does require more recovery time than for Oral Sedation.

• Committed Team: Our entire office – from the administrative team to the clinical staff to the doctors who administer your procedures – are all ONE when it comes to creating a welcoming, respectful and compassionate environment for patients, especially those who have dental fears. We understand that these fears may be the result of an unfortunate experience in another dental office. However, some people cannot pinpoint why these fears exist, they just know they are there.

Our unified goal is to have patients smiling as they enter our front door and smiling as they leave. We know that, even for patients who have dental fears, your dental visit can be a positive experience. We also know, however, that we must first get you in the door so you can experience that!

Begin with a friendly conversation with our phone staff by calling 586-739-2155. Then, ask for a no-cost, no obligation consultation. During this, we’ll relax in comfy chairs in a private consultation room that is removed from the clinical side of the office. You can share your concerns and ask questions, which I’ll answer thoroughly.

If you’re too uneasy about coming in for a consultation, ask for a phone consultation. We can discuss your needs over the phone and you can determine when a personal visit is the next step. If you like, we can also put you in touch with several patients who, like you, once had dental fears and now enjoy healthy smiles. Hearing from someone who has ‘been there, done that’ can often help.

Don’t let imagined complications keep you from achieving the smile you desire. Imagine your life with a healthy, attractive smile. With our help, we believe you can achieve your goal while getting dental fears behind you!

How To Enjoy Your Dental Implants For A Lifetime

What holds one of the highest success rate of all in-bone implant types? It may surprise you that Dental Implants have a nearly 97% success rate, surpassing knees, hips and other implant-in-bone procedures.

Over the years, the design and placement of Dental Implants have been fine-tuned, so much so that they’ve grown to be one of the most sought-out forms of tooth replacement.

According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), more than 35 million Americans are missing all their upper or lower (or both) teeth. While 15 million have chosen crown-&-bridge combinations for replacing missing teeth were appropriate, 3 million have opted for Dental Implants and this number is growing by 500,000 a year. (http://www.aaid.com/about/press_room/dental_implants_faq.html)

 

In addition to its high success rate, the growing popularity of Dental Implants is due to their longevity. Made from titanium, a biologically-compatible metal originally created by NASA, Dental Implants are designed to last a lifetime.

Although the initial costs for Dental Implants are higher than dentures, partials, and crown-&-bridge, the investment is a wise one – a ‘one-and-done’ solution for missing teeth. Once placed, Dental Implants do not experience decay, need root canals, break or cause problems for neighboring teeth.

However, like any procedure that involves an implant in human bone, there is an element of risk.  Although it’s not a frequent occurrence, having an implant removed due to infection or malfunction is a loss for the patient in several ways.

When an implant requires removal, the investment by the patient is lost. To replace a failed implant, they must endure additional procedures, expenses and time.

While implant removal is not a common occurrence, the reasons for it lie largely in the hands of the patient. Surprised? Let’s look at some of the reasons for implant failure so you can minimize this risk:

First, one of the most important factors in any successful medical or dental procedure begins with the doctor you select. Your implant doctor should never be selected based on the lowest fee but chosen based upon his or her training and experience. Proper diagnosis means the implant system the doctor chooses is best for your specific needs .

You doctor should also have advanced skills in the placement of implants. Successful placement involves assessing for adequate bone mass to support an implant without interfering with adjacent structures.

While the doctor involved in your treatment is important, much of the risk falls into the patient’s hands after the placement process. The patient’s role in a successful implant begins once the implants are placed.

To begin, closely follow your post-placement instructions. For a few days after implant placement, we recommend you eat only cool, soft foods. This helps to minimize swelling and bleeding so gum tissue incision sites heal faster. Faster healing means reduced risk for infection.

Another risk factor to implant success – smoking. The chemicals in cigarette smoke are very drying to gum tissues, causing the healing process to take longer. For smokers, this creates a higher risk for implant failure. The longer it takes gum tissues to heal, the greater the risk for infection.

If you grind or clench your teeth during sleep, Dental Implants can become overburdened by the force. Clenching and grinding are typical symptoms of bite misalignment. Some clenching is so intense the force is likened to that used to crack a walnut. Clenching or grinding can also lead to worn, chipped or broken teeth. If you suspect you grind or clench, mention this prior to treatment so measures can be taken to resolve the problem.

Most important to implant success, however, is the patient’s commitment to good oral health. Although Dental Implants do not experience decay, the gum tissues and bone structures that support the implants are as susceptible to oral bacteria as before. When the infectious bacteria of gum disease reach implant sites, treating the infection may require removing the implant.

Along with a commitment to a thorough oral hygiene regimen at home, your exams and cleanings will likely be scheduled for every 3-4 months. During these visits, your hygienist will remove accumulated oral bacteria and assess the condition of your gums. These visits are proactive measures to help you avoid problems or catch any that occur at their earliest stages.

Dental Implants are a wonderful investment. Patients who opt for implants to replace missing teeth are able to eat healthy foods and enjoy social outings without worry. With proper selection, placement and care, your implants will provide you with a lifetime of benefits.

Our goal, for every patient, is to help each enjoy a confident smile for every stage of their life! If you’ve considered Dental Implants, let’s discuss the types that may be best for you. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a free, no-obligation consultation.

April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Know The Warning Signs!

Ask most Americans which cancers are the most deadly and you’ll likely hear replies of pancreatic, prostrate or breast cancer. While these cancers are widespread and can be deadly, you rarely hear about oral cancer.

What makes Oral Cancer so deadly is its ability to progress long before symptoms emerge. By the time they do, it becomes a difficult cancer to battle. Treatment is often very disfiguring. Even worse, it is known to be one of the deadliest of all cancers, taking the life of one American every hour of every day.

In the majority of dental offices, regular dental exams include an annual screening for Oral Cancer. However, a 2014 Gallup poll showed that one-third of American adults have not seen a dentist in over a year (http://www.gallup.com/poll/168716/one-third-americans-haven-visited-dentist-past-year.aspx), leaving a significant percentage of adults unchecked. If a key component in catching Oral Cancer before it becomes deadly involves a dental visit, the challenge will continue until more individuals are in a dental chair.

For many individuals, dental fear can be a deterrent to having regular dental care. This is why we offer oral and I.V. sedation. These relaxation options, in addition to providing a gentle touch, have opened the doors for many fearful adults to have regular dental care. Still, there are an estimated 70 percent who have fears or anxiety when it comes to dental visits. Some are so fearful that they avoid dental visits altogether.

Those with the highest risk are adult males, with Black males being the most susceptible. Oral cancer risk also increases with age, especially after age 50. Risk levels generally peak between ages 60 – 70. The highest rates have been noted with males between ages 50 – 59.

Other risk factors (for all ages) includes tobacco and alcohol use. However, a particular factor that is spiking numbers in younger age groups is the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV).

A National Cancer Institute Survey shows a 15% increase in oral cancer rates over the past three decades. Still, many people assume “if it doesn’t hurt, then nothing’s wrong.” I believe this has lead to such high levels of periodontal (gum) disease and subsequent adult tooth loss. And, as rising Oral Cancer statistics show, the casual attitude toward dental exams can result in far worse than losing teeth.

April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Begin by becoming familiar with the symptoms. Acting on these early warning signs means we can take prompt, appropriate action. These include:

•    A sore, irritation, lump or thick patch in the mouth, lip, or throat
•    White or red patch inside the mouth
•    Feeling something is stuck in the throat
•    Difficulty chewing or swallowing
•    Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
•    Numbness in the tongue or other areas of the mouth
•    Unexplained swelling of the jaw
•    Pain in an ear without hearing loss

While these symptoms do not always indicate Oral Cancer, anything in the mouth that does not go away on its own in 10-14 days should be examined immediately. Early treatment can mean the difference between resolving the problem simply or disfiguring surgeries, and even death.

Call 586-739-2155 for an examination appointment if you have not had regular dental check-ups. In the meantime, learn more about Oral Cancer at the American Cancer Society’s web site:

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/oralcavityandoropharyngealcancer/detailedguide/oral-cavity-and-oropharyngeal-cancer-key-statistics

Gentle Dental Care + Sedation = Confident Smiles!

If going to the dentist invokes feelings of anxiety, nervousness or fear, you are in good company. Over 70% of American adults are estimated to have some level of fear or anxiety associated with dental visits.

For many adults, this keeps them from having regular dental care. And, it’s the regular cleanings and exams that help to prevent problems in the first place. Because fear holds many people back from having these appointments, their needs become gradually more complex as a result. As a matter of fact, many high-fear adults only see a dentist when a problem becomes so painful they are forced to set their fears aside to achieve pain relief.

As far as who has dental fear, it certainly doesn’t discriminate. With fearful adults, there is no typical age group, income level, or gender and it effects all ethnic groups.

As a dentist who has built a reputation for a gentle touch, I see a number of patients who come from a wide vicinity because of their fear issues. Sadly, by the time they arrive, many high-fear patients have already lost natural teeth and are at risk of losing more. A large percentage have some level of periodontal (gum) disease.

In addition to being the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss, the bacteria of gum disease has been found to trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. This infectious bacteria has been associated with heart disease, stroke, some cancers, arthritis, diabetes, impotency, preterm babies and more. This greatly amplifies the need for good oral health.

In addition to providing respectful care with a gentle touch, we offer Oral Sedation or I.V. Sedation (twilight sleep) in addition to our standard relaxation features . We also pace your care according to what is comfortable for you. Patients tend to relax when they realize they are in charge of what is done at each appointment and how frequently those appointments occur.

No matter how you would categorize your anxiety when it comes to dental care, we know you can overcome these challenges and achieve a healthy mouth and confident smile. Many of our formerly-fearful patients have even overcome their dread of dental care altogether. We love seeing these patients walk in with a smile and leave smiling – and knowing that they love sharing their smile often!

Begin by calling 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a no-charge Consultation. This is a discussion that takes place in a private, living-room style setting that is removed from the clinical side of the office. During this time, we’ll discuss your concerns and how we can help you move at a pace that’s right for you.

Let your smile be a beautiful reflection of who you are, inside and out! We’ll help you convert your fear of dental visits to the terrific smile you desire.

What To Do If A Crown Comes Off

surprised-cartoonIt’s Murphy’s Law — the worst things seem to happen at the worst times. While there is never a good time to lose a crown (also referred to as a ‘cap’), disasters tend to happen at the worst times, like the morning you’re leaving on vacation or the night before an important job interview. And, they always seem to happen on a weekend when waiting for a Monday dental visit seems an eternity.

A crown is a custom-designed ceramic shell made to cover a natural tooth. They are typically placed to protect the health of a tooth. A crown is often recommended when a tooth has developed cracks or has too much filling material for the tooth structure. Crowns are also placed for esthetic reasons or to correct bite alignment.

Porcelain crowns are ‘cemented’ in place with a special adhesive. This adhesive is designed to secure the crown for most normal functions, such as eating, biting and flossing. However, things like eating ice, an injury to the mouth, or night-time grinding may disrupt the adhesive and dislodge the crown.

If you lose a crown, don’t panic. There are simple measures you can take to protect the tooth structure and temporarily replace the crown until you are seen in our office.

As soon as the crown comes off, rinse it while holding carefully. Place the crown in a hard container (such as one that holds a retainer or mouth guard or even a clean pill bottle). Rinse the mouth gently with lukewarm water. Call our office immediately to schedule a time to have the crown re-cemented. If your crown comes off after our normal business hours, the recording will give you instructions on how to reach me.

Fortunately, you can temporarily secure the crown until it is re-cemented. Most drugs stores sell a putty-like dental cement made to temporarily hold crowns in place. Denture adhesives can also provide temporary grip. Follow the directions carefully and then avoid chewing in the area of the crown. Floss only in a downward motion to avoid dislodging the crown again.

If you cannot get to a drug store, apply petroleum jelly to the inside of the crown. This will provide some help in holding it in place, although for a brief time.

NEVER use household glue to reattach your crown! Most of these products contain highly-toxic ingredients which can leak into your mouth and get into your system. And, because glues like Super Glue and Gorilla Glue are ‘permanent’ glues, removing this material can be very difficult and even damage the tooth structure during attempts to remove it. Too, the crown can be damaged in the process of removing this type of glue.

If you’ve lost the crown, your remaining tooth structure may be sensitive to hot or cold until a new crown can be created and attached. If this occurs, the area should be covered until you can be seen in our office. For this, use a layer of the drug store dental cement on the tooth to fill it in and cover sensitive nerves. Again, avoid chewing in that area and floss downward only.

Regardless of what caused your crown to come off, our goal is to get you smiling comfortly and confidently again – and as soon as possible! Call us at 586-739-2155. We always welcome emergency patients who have experienced mishaps that result in a crown coming off or tooth loosening (or loss).

Canker Sore Or Cold Sore, Or Worse?

As we enter the holiday season, our risk for illness increases. Perhaps it’s because we’re confined to the indoors with others more often. However, for many of us, the added stressful during this time of year can compromise the immune systems, which can place our resistance at lower levels. christmas-reindeer-head

In spite of getting our flu shot, washing hands often, boosting vitamin C intake and staying active, a couple of irritating and embarrassing oral problems tend to emerge more during stressful times of the year.

During the holidays, we see more individuals who develop canker and cold sores.  With ultra-busy times of year like the holidays, your likelihood of getting a cold or canker sore increases along with the added stress.

The two are often confused, however, with the difference being:

Canker Sores
These are small ulcers that typically have a white or gray base and red border. Unlike cold sores, canker sores appear inside the mouth and are not contagious. The exact cause of canker sores is uncertain but fatigue, stress or allergies can increase the likelihood of a canker sore. Some experts suspect immune system problems, bacteria or viruses can also spurn eruption. A cut caused by biting the tongue or inside of the cheek as well as hot foods or beverages may contribute to canker sore development. Canker sores usually heal on their own in a week or two. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics, steroid preparations,  and antimicrobial mouth rinses can provide temporary relief. As a holistic method, you may try swishing with plain, sugar-free yogurt for a minute or so. This helps to restore a healthy bacteria balance in the mouth while soothing discomfort.

Cold Sores
These are also referred to as fever blisters or Herpes simplex and are located around the lips, under the nose or on the chin. Caused by herpes virus type 1, cold sores are very contagious. These are clusters of fluid-filled blisters that often erupt since are they are most commonly found around the edge of the lips. Cold sores are Herpes lesions that may follow a fever, sunburn, skin abrasions or emotional upset. Because cold sore blisters are on the outside of the mouth, they can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Although they usually heal in a week, over-the-counter topical anesthetics may speed the process while providing some relief. In our office, we can use a laser to hasten healing, often within a 2-3 day period. If occurrences are frequent, ask about prescription drugs that can help reduce the duration of these viral infections.

It is important, however, to pay close attention to any change to oral tissue that does not heal within 10-14 days. When oral tissue does not repair on its own in a week or two, it should be examined immediately! This is a symptom of oral cancer, which kills 1 person every hour of every day.

Oral cancer has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers. Because symptoms can mimic a bite on the inside of your cheek, more obvious symptoms often do not emerge until the cancer has reached advanced stages. Of those who acquire oral cancer, only 57% are estimated to still be alive 5 years later.

Some tissue changes in your mouth are normal and repair on their own in about 10 days. However, it is important to be aware of oral cancer’s symptoms and react quickly to areas that change further or do not go away. Symptoms include:

• white or red patch of tissue
• unusual lesion in the mouth
• difficulty or discomfort when swallowing
• persistent sore throat or feeling something is stuck in the throat
• a lump or mass inside the mouth or neck
• wart-like mass
• numbness in the mouth or face

Lesions or discolorations that are early warning signs are not always visible, particularly in the back portion of the mouth (the oropharynx, the tonsils, and base of tongue), which can be an obstacle to early diagnosis and treatment. This is yet another reason that keeping your regular oral hygiene exam and cleanings is so important. During these times, we look for unusual changes in the mouth that can indicate a problem. However, you should never wait until your scheduled appointment to have anything unusual examined.

While uncomfortable canker or cold sores may not be welcome, they tend to go away in a week or ten days. Again, if an unusual spot or sore is still present after two weeks, call 586-739-2155 immediately for an appointment.

Dental Emergency Guidelines

Christmas morning often brings bikes, skateboards, roller blades and balls & bats as gifts for both young and not-so-young! We can now add hover boards to the list. While these create fun and entertainment in our lives, as a dentist, I’ve seen a number of chipped, broken, cracked and knocked out teeth as well as cut lips and gums.roller-blading

Mishaps can occur with any of these items, regardless of your age. Should the unexpected happen, here are some tips to help you lessen the impact and hopefully lead to a better outcome:

FIRST AID FOR DENTAL EMERGENCIES

TOOTHACHE – Clean the area around the sore tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth thoroughly with warm, salt water or use dental floss to gently dislodge trapped food or debris. If the face is swollen, apply a cold compress. Take acetaminophen for pain and call us as soon as possible. Do not place aspirin on the gum or the aching tooth.

CUT OR BITTEN TONGUE, LIP OR CHEEK – Apply a cold compress to bruised areas. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a clean gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes or cannot be controlled by simple pressure, go to a hospital emergency room without delay.

KNOCKED OUT PERMANENT TOOTH – Handle the tooth by the top portion rather than the root. Rinse the tooth, but do not clean or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Try to reinsert the tooth into the socket and hold the tooth in place by biting on a clean gauze or cloth. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, place the tooth in a cup of milk or water and call us immediately. Time is a critical factor in saving a tooth.

BROKEN TOOTH – Rinse dirt from injured area with warm water. Place cold compresses over the area of the injury. Save any broken tooth fragments and call our office immediately.

POSSIBLE BROKEN JAW – If a fractured jaw is suspected, use a tie, towel or handkerchief to tie underneath the chin and over the top of the head. This will help to keep the jaws from moving. Go immediately to the nearest emergency room.

BROKEN BRACES & WIRES – Fortunately, most loose or broken appliances do not require emergency room attention. If the appliance can be removed easily, take it out. If not, cover sharp or protruding portions with cotton balls, gauze or chewing gum. If a wire is stuck in the gums, cheek, or tongue, do not attempt to remove it. Call our office immediately.

Our office has after-hours instructions on the answering machine in case you need to contact us. We will do everything possible to assist you.

By the way, a custom-fitted mouth guard is an excellent companion to these holiday gifts. And, they can save you tremendously in costs, treatment time, and more. Ask about mouth guards at your next visit or call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to learn more.

 

 

 

School Is In! Sports Season Is, Too! Avoid Mouth Injuries Easily!

School is resuming for our children. Along with a new school year, many adolescents and teens begin a new season of participation in sports. As a parent, I’m all for involvement that reinforces team interaction and active play. As a dentist, I hold my breath. Year after year, I see patients who have taken a blow to the mouth or jaw that resulted in deep cuts to the lips or tongue, cuts on the inside of the mouth, chipped teeth, teeth that are knocked loose or out altogether, and jaw injuries.

It’s not just the rigorous contact sports such as football and hockey that place your child in harm’s way for these injuries. Basketball, gymnastics, skate boarding, soccer, lacrosse and baseball are just as likely to be the setting for an injury to the teeth, mouth or jaw.

These problems can be avoided, or their severity can be greatly reduced, with a simple, inexpensive mouth piece. A mouthguard is priceless when it comes to the avoidance of injuries, some which can be severe. An athlete is 60 times more prone to an injury to teeth when a mouthguard is not worn. Mouthguards can even reduce the severity of concussions.

There are over-the-counter types, which tend to be bulky and cumbersome in the mouth. These tend to get less use as a result. Somewhat better are the boil-and-bite mouthguards, which conform to the fit of teeth to some extent. The types that are most favored are custom-made mouthguards formed specifically to the contours of teeth and gums by an experienced dentist. A mouthguard that fits well without bulk tends to be worn more often and with less resistance by the wearer.

A custom-made mouthguard is resilient, tear-resistant, will not interfere with speech or breathing, and fits comfortably. They should be worn during practice sessions as well as game times. And, last year’s mouthguard may not have the snug fit that is necessary for optimal protection. A newly-fitted mouthguard is advised on an annual basis. These custom fits are highly important for those who have braces, a protruding jaw, receding chin or cleft palate.

Mouthguards should be easy to care for with simple measures. For custom-made types, cleaning can be done by rinsing and brushing with a toothbrush. It should be stored in a strong container that is vented and never left sitting in the sun or held under hot water.

I cannot tell you the treatment time, expense and parental anguish I’ve seen when a child’s mouth injury occurs. They can be avoided so simply and affordably. Ask about custom mouthguards for your family members as well as yourself. When your children see YOU are committed to wearing a mouthguard while biking, shooting hoops, and playing softball in the backyard, they’ll be more inclined to get into the habit themselves.

Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to learn more.