5 Signs You’re a Good Candidate for a Mouth Guard

Jun 25, 2024
5 Signs You’re a Good Candidate for a Mouth Guard
The National Federation of State High School Associations mandates mouth guards for specific sports, but athletes aren’t the only ones needing protection. Learn what conditions are treated with mouth guards and the signs you’re a good candidate.

Mouth guards protect teeth from damage and treat several dental and health conditions, even those that don’t affect teeth.

If you need a mouth guard, you owe it to yourself to meet with Roy Hudgens, DMD, at Hudgens Dental to learn about these customized appliances. He ensures your mouth guard is the perfect fit and that it relieves the underlying problem.

You might be a good candidate for a mouth guard if you:

Struggle with jaw, face, or neck pain

Jaw, face, and neck pain are signs of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. The temporomandibular joints connect the jaw to your skull. TMJ disorders develop due to problems in the muscles, ligaments, bones, cartilage, and other tissues that make up the joint.

In addition to pain, you may have symptoms such as earaches, ringing in your ears, and joint popping and clicking. Advanced problems make opening and closing your mouth challenging and may lead to a locked jaw.


The primary TMJ treatment is wearing a customized mouth guard at night. The guard cushions your teeth, taking stress off the muscles and nerves. It also holds your jaw in a position that eases stress on the joint and gives it time to heal.

Have damaged teeth

Grinding your teeth at night (bruxism) can lead to cracked and chipped teeth, eroded enamel, and sensitivity to cold and heat. Bruxism also causes facial pain and sore, tight, and tired jaw muscles. 

You probably won’t be aware of the problem since teeth grinding occurs while you sleep. Scheduling a dental checkup at the first sign of symptoms allows us to determine the cause, treat bruxism, and repair any tooth damage.

Wearing a mouth guard minimizes or stops teeth grinding by relaxing your jaw muscles. The mouth guard also protects your teeth if the clenching returns.

Snore loudly

When you sleep, the muscles throughout your body relax, including those in your tongue and surrounding your throat. These tissues move toward your throat as they relax and fall over the airway.

Then, they vibrate when you inhale, causing snoring. The louder you snore, the more blocked the airway. However, a total obstruction means no air goes through the airway, snoring stops, and you temporarily stop breathing (sleep apnea).

If your snoring is so loud it bothers housemates, or you have other sleep apnea symptoms, such as daytime tiredness, forgetfulness, brain fog, and mood changes, it’s time to talk with us about a mouth guard.

The mouth guards used for snoring and sleep apnea hold your jaw in place, which prevents your tongue from covering the airway.

Wake up with a headache

Waking up with a headache (when the pain isn’t caused by another health condition) is a red flag alerting you to a dental problem that occurs when you’re asleep. Morning headaches commonly occur in people with TMJ disorders, bruxism, and sleep apnea.

Engage in athletic activities

Wearing a mouth guard minimizes the risk of damaging a tooth during your favorite activities.

Tooth damage is a common problem in high-risk and impact sports, including:

  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Field and ice hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Boxing
  • Wrestling
  • Skateboarding 

Athletic mouth guards usually cover the top teeth because they absorb most of the impact. As a result, the appliance is comfortable to wear while you’re active.

Call Hudgens Dental today or use online booking to request a mouth guard consultation.