Most people wear mouth guards to protect their teeth during sports, but people with bruxism wear mouth guards at night to avoid damaging their teeth from grinding.
Sports mouth guards usually cover only the upper teeth, but people who wear braces or other dental appliances on their lower jaw should obtain mouth guards for their lower teeth.
Mouth guards should not be worn with retainers or other removable dental appliances.
A good mouth guard should be durable, comfortable, easy to clean, and it should not hinder speech or breathing.
There are three main types of mouth guards:
1) Stock mouth guards are inexpensive ready-to-wear mouth guards that can be bought at department stores or sporting goods stores. They are bulky and cannot be adjusted to fit the user’s mouth.
2) Boil and bite mouth guards are made from a thermoplastic material. The wearer softens it by heating it in hot water, puts it in their mouth and adjusts the fit with their fingers and/or tongue. Boil and bite mouth guards can be bought at sporting goods stores.
3) Custom-fitted mouth guards are made in a lab or dental office for an individual wearer. The dentist makes an impression of the client’s teeth and then molds the mouth guard around the impression. It thus fits better and is more comfortable than the other types. The dentist uses a special material that offers more protection than the materials used to make the other types of mouth guards.
A person with braces will need a custom-fitted mouth guard to protect their teeth and braces. People who grind their teeth at night will need a type of mouth guard called a nocturnal night splint or bite plate.
Caring for the mouth guard
Taking care of the sports mouth guard will prolong its usefulness. The wearer should therefore clean it regularly before and after every use.
They should clean it with a toothbrush and a mouth rinse or soapy water and then rinse it. The mouth guard should be kept away from hot water or sunlight to keep it from melting out of shape.
When traveling, the wearer should keep the mouth guard in a perforated container that will allow air circulation as well as prevent damage.
The wearer should bring their mouth guard to the dentist at every appointment to let them inspect it. If it tears, develops holes, or becomes loose or uncomfortable it needs to be replaced.
If you’re interested in sports mouth guards, contact Ragan Orthodontics today to make your appointment.