Engaging in physical activities without the proper protective gear can have serious consequences. When many people think of protective gear, they often think of things like helmets or shin guards. But one area that’s often overlooked, and one that’s important to your dentist in Cedar Rapids, is the use of mouthguards. However, if you don’t wear a mouthguard during activities that pose a risk of dental injuries, it can increase the risk of long-term damage to your teeth, jaw, and overall oral health.
Dental Injuries & Trauma
One of the most common consequences of not wearing a mouthguard is an increased risk of dental injuries. Activities such as contact sports or recreational hobbies can lead to direct impacts on the mouth, causing broken or chipped teeth, tooth loss, and damage to the soft tissues in the oral cavity. These injuries not only require immediate dental attention but can also lead to long-term dental problems and the need for extensive dental treatments.
Jaw Fractures & TMJ Disorders
The absence of a mouthguard puts the jaw at greater risk of fractures and dislocations. With a mouthguard, the force of any strong impact on the jaw during physical activities would be absorbed by the mouthguard. Without that protection, blows to the jaw can result in severe injuries, leading to pain, difficulty in opening and closing the mouth, and TMJ disorders. These conditions can cause chronic discomfort, limited jaw movement, and problems with eating, speaking, and overall quality of life.
Tooth Movement & Root Damage
Without the protection of a mouthguard, teeth are vulnerable to being moved out of their original positions, changing their appearance. Impacts on the mouth can cause teeth to shift, rotate, or even be pushed into the jawbone. Additionally, the force from an impact can damage the tooth roots, leading to root fractures, nerve damage, and potential tooth loss. Restorative dentistry treatment such as root canals, dental implants, or orthodontic procedures from your dentist in may be necessary to repair the damage caused by tooth displacement and root injuries.
Increased Risk of Concussions
Even though the primary purpose of mouthguards is to protect the teeth, they can also help reduce the risk of concussions. The cushioning effect of a mouthguard can absorb some of the impact forces, reducing the transmission of those forces to the head and potentially minimizing the risk of brain injuries. Without this protective barrier, the likelihood of sustaining a concussion increases, which can have both serious short-term and long-term consequences.
Choosing not to wear a mouthguard during physical activities can lead to severe consequences for your oral health and overall health. To protect your smile and safeguard your future, wear a properly fitted mouthguard during any activity that poses a risk to your oral health.