Mouth guards have many names — occlusal guard, night guard, bite guard, mouthpiece, occlusal splint, etc. — and function as a protective appliance to shield the teeth and gums from injury or damages. They are available in different forms, but the best and most effective type are those provided by the dentist.Custom-made mouth guards are…
A Guide to Dental Mouthguards
Mouthguards are coverings, usually made out of rubber or plastic composite, that people wear to protect their teeth. They are used by athletes and by people who grind their teeth in their sleep.
Types of dental mouthguards
There are three different types of mouthguards commonly used today.
As the name implies, these mouthguards are already pre-formed and ready to wear. They can be bought at most department stores and sporting goods stores and are inexpensive. Since they are already pre-formed, it is impossible to adjust the fit. They are also usually bulky, which makes it difficult to speak when you have them in.
Boil and bite mouthguards
Like the stock version, these can be bought at any sporting goods or department store and are also inexpensive. They provide better protection than the stock versions because they fit better in your mouth, thanks to the thermoplastic material that softens when you put it in hot water, allowing you to shape it around your teeth using your fingers.
These are custom-fitted for you in a dental office or at a lab based on your dentist’s specifications, making them the best type of dental mouthguards.
Your dentist will make an impression of your teeth, then mold a mouthguard over the impression. Since this requires the use of a special material and a lot of extra work, it is typically more expensive than the other types of mouthguards. However, the additional cost is worth it because it provides better comfort and protection than the others.
If you wear braces, your dentist will customize the mouthguard to protect your lower teeth so your braces do not get damaged if you get hit in the mouth while playing sports.
Do I need a dental mouthguard?
If you have a tendency to grind your teeth in your sleep or frequently play physical sports, you need a mouthguard to protect your teeth from getting worn down while you sleep or from getting knocked out or chipped while you play.
How much protection can I get from a dental mouthguard?
Some people are skeptical about using a mouthguard when they play sports because they do not think it can offer them a lot of protection because it is made from plastic. Even though the mouthguard does not guarantee your teeth will not get knocked out during a game, it will prevent the teeth from damaging your tongue, lips and other soft tissue in your mouth. It will also prevent your teeth from getting chipped.
Dental mouthguards can help prevent damage to your teeth if you are an active participant in sports or grind your teeth while you sleep, which is why many people use them. If you are thinking of getting a mouthguard, talk to your dentist and find out if you need a customized mouthguard.
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