What are Nightguards & Athletic Mouth Guards?
Devices that protect your teeth from damage have a number of different names including sports guards, mouth guards and mouth protectors. These are used for different reasons such as sports, grinding or even braces. If a patient plays sports that involve falls, body contact or flying equipment like football, basketball, baseball, boxing, soccer, hockey, skateboarding, gymnastics or even mountain biking, dentists recommend a mouth guard to protect his/her/their teeth.
Mouth guards are worn over the top teeth and will protect them against being broken, cutting lips amongst other oral damage.
Depending on the reasons for needing a mouth guard, one mouth guard may be better than another.
A patient can choose between one of three types – custom-made, boil and bite mouth guards, and stock mouth guards. Custom-made mouth guards are created in a dentist’s office after being designed for the patient. The dentist will make an impression of the patient’s teeth and construct the mouth guard over the model. These are the more comfortable fit and best protection for teeth which is one reason why athletes prefer these. Unfortunately, they are also one of the more expensive types.
Boil and bite mouth guards are already in a horse shoe shape which are shaped to a person’s mouth by boiling it in water and biting the warm plastic for an individualized fit. These kinds of mouth guards can be purchased at sporting goods stores as well as some drug stores. Make sure to follow the directions well otherwise the mouth guard may not fit as well as possible.
If you have any questions call Dr. Heather Darcey at Clear Lake Dental 281-488-6862
Stock mouthguards are the most inexpensive. They are ready to wear and non-customizable which often makes them uncomfortable to wear.
After a sports season, athletes should replace their mouth guard since they wear down.
Younger mouthguard wearers should definitely change mouthguards often since their mouths are still growing and their teeth will keep developing until they are adults.
If a patient grinds or clenches their teeth at night, the dentist will most likely suggest a night guard. These guards are made of a firm plastic similar to athletic guards. Wearing this type of mouth guard at night will help jaw muscles relax while asleep. Grinding that may occur will wear down the guard rather than the teeth.
Taking care of a mouth guard is relatively simple. Before and after using it, rinse it with cold water or a mouth rinse and clean it with a mild soap and toothbrush. When moving it, keep it in a hard, perforated container to ensure air circulation as well as keep it from getting damaged. If there are tears or holes in the mouth guard after time, it will need to be replaced. Bring the guard to each dental appointment so the dentist can make sure that it is performing optimally.
If you need a mouth guard or have questions call Dr. Heather Darcey at Clear Lake Dental, 281-488-6862.