Mouthguards are flexible dental appliances that can be worn to protect your teeth from clenching, grinding, and sports injuries. In other words, they are used to prevent the lower jaw from colliding into the upper jaw, averting major injuries such as concussions, jaw fractures, neck injuries as well as limiting bruising and laceration of the lips and cheeks. Mouthguards are usually made of plastic materials that fit comfortably over your teeth and gums. There are different types of mouthguards that you can choose from depending on your needs.
We often recommend a custom-fitted mouthguard that is made specifically for your smile by your dentist. A mold of your teeth is made to create a customized mouthguard to accommodate the exact structure of your teeth and mouth. This type of mouthguard provides a much better personalized fit and is more versatile as it can be used to prevent sports injuries, teeth grinding, assist in the treatment of sleep apnea, and even help to reduce snoring.
Stock mouthguards are one of the most common types of mouthguards. You can find them at most drug stores as well as stores that sell sporting equipment. They usually cover only the top of your teeth and come in different sizes: small, medium, and large. Though this type of mouthguard is very easy to find, and cost-effective, please keep in mind that they might not offer the best fit for your teeth due to limited and standardized sizes available.
Another type of mouthguard, called boil-and-bite, mouthguards can also be found at drug stores. However, instead of predetermined sizes, this type of mouthguard can be customized to fit your teeth. Because it is made from thermoplastic material, the mouthguard can be softened by placing it in hot or boiling water. Once soft, placing it in the mouth and biting down, shape the guard to your teeth and bite. In order to get the best fit please make sure to follow the instructions with your mouthguard.
In sports, whenever there is possible contact with competitors or immovable objects, we recommend the use of a mouthguard. Many schools and sports leagues require the wearing of mouthguards during both practice and competition. Even where not mandatory, mouthguards should be worn during active involvement in sports. They are indispensable for the added protection that they provide. Parents in particular should ensure that children, who may not be aware or fully understand the potential dangers of sports injuries, protect their winning smiles through the use of stock or custom-fitted mouthguards.
Sleep apnea treatment is another consideration for a custom-fitted mouthguard. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes a person to temporarily stop breathing while asleep, which can increase risks associated with heart disease and strokes. A custom-fitted mouthguard from your dentist works by pushing your lower jaw and tongue forward, keeping your airway open.
If you struggle with bruxism related to teeth grinding and clenching, your dentist might want to consider a mouthguard to help you keep your top and bottom teeth separated when you sleep, so they don't damage each other from the excessive pressure of clenching. To ensure that your teeth are protected when you sleep, we recommend a custom-fitted mouthguard or other oral appliance created by your dentist!
To consult with your dentist and inquire about a custom-fitted mouthguard, contact us today!