Dental mouth guards are used to protect teeth from injury from teeth grinding and while participating in contact sports. Generally, mouth guards cover your upper teeth only. An effective mouth guard should be comfortable, durable and easy to clean; they should not restrict you breathing or speech.
There are three types of mouth guards:
Stock mouth protectors – come ready to wear. These are inexpensive and can be purchased at most sporting goods and department stores. Things to keep in mind are – little can be done to adjust their fit, they are bulky, make breathing and talking difficult, and they provide little or no protection. We don’t recommend them as a great option for protection.
Boil and bite mouth protectors – these can also be purchased at many sporting goods stores. They typically offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. The boil and bite mouth guard are just that; it is placed in hot water to soften, the placed in the mouth to shape around your teeth using your finger and tongue for pressure. It is made from thermoplastic material, giving it that ability to be molded, making this a better option to provide greater protection.
Custom-fitted mouth protectors – these are going to provide the most comfort and the most protection. They are individually designed and made in a dental office to fit your teeth. First, we will make an impression of your teeth and a mouth guard is then molded over the model using a special material. Due to the use of the special material and because of the extra time and work involved, this custom-made mouth guard is more expensive than the other types, but worth the investment if you participate in contact sports have a problem with grinding your teeth.
Why Use a Mouth Guard When Playing Sports?
Accidents often occur during any physical activity- we have seen it happen time and time again. The advantage of using a mouth guard during sports is that it can help limit the risk of mouth-related injuries. Mouth guards can help you avoid chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth, or even tooth loss.
Can I Wear a Mouth Guard if I Wear Braces?
Yes, it is even more important to protect yourself as the braces can cause cuts to your lips and the inside of your mouth, as well as expensive damage to the braces. We will work closely with you to determine the mouth guard that will provide the best protection for your unique mouth work. It is also very important to remember – DO NOT wear any orthodontic retainers or other removable appliance during any contact sports or during any recreational activities that put your mouth at risk for injury.
How Do I Care for My Mouth Guard?
To care for your mouth guard:
- Wash your mouth guard with cold water and with a mouth rinse before and after each use. It is also best to clean it with a toothbrush.
- Place your mouth guard in a firm, perforated container to store or transport it. This permits air circulation and helps to prevent damage
- Protect your mouth guard from high temperatures (such as hot water, hot surfaces, or direct sunlight). This will help to minimize distorting its shape.
- Check for wear and tear, if you find holes or tears, or if it becomes loose it is time to replace it.
Bring your mouth guard to each regularly scheduled dental visit so we can exam it. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time.