If you are a parent, you know a thing or two about taking extra precautions to prevent injuries. It is why people wear helmets and knee pads when riding bicycles or skateboarding. Like knee pads for the knees, mouthguards are protectors for the mouth, cushioning external force and trauma that may damage teeth and your jawbone.
What Are Mouthguards?
They are oral devices used as coverings or protectors for teeth. The role of mouthguards in dentistry is to protect teeth from the impact of injury that may damage them. Mouthguards also protect the jawbone. With a mouth protector, you can avoid various dental issues like:
- Broken and cracked teeth
- Knocked-out teeth
- Broken jawbone
- Enamel thinning
Although mouth protectors are commonly used by patients seeking to avoid dental injury, they are also made for countering some oral problems. For example, bruxism
is a dental condition where patients grind their teeth, especially when sleeping. The condition can be so severe as to lead to other dental problems like enamel thinning and hypersensitivity. One of our dentists at Family Dental Care may recommend getting a mouth protector as treatment. For other patients, they need the appliance to combat temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). Depending on your dental problem, your dentist may suggest different types of mouthguards
Different Types of Mouthguards
Mouthguards used in dental health do not all serve the same purpose. However, the primary goal of mouth protectors is to protect your teeth and jaw. Some types of mouthguards are used during the day, while others are particularly made for nighttime usage. The type of dental night guard or mouthguard you get solely depends on the prescription of your dentist. The different types available are:
- Stock mouthguards – can be considered the most readily available mouth protectors found in drugstores and sporting goods stores near you. The mouthguards are pre-made, mostly covering the upper teeth only. They are availed in three size categories, that is, large, medium, and small. Although they are conveniently readily available, stock mouthguards do not offer a great fit. Some patients report difficulty in breathing and speaking when using these mouthguards because they are ill-fitting.
- Boil and bite mouthguards – are among the most common types of mouth protectors in dentistry. They are also readily available on over-the-counter drugstores from local vendors, making them relatively inexpensive. These mouthguards are made in one standard size, featuring a thermoplastic material that allows you to adjust the size to fit your mouth. To use this mouthguard, you need to soak the appliance in hot water before placing it in your mouth. Using your tongue or finger, you can shape the mouthguard to snug your teeth as required.
- Custom-fitted mouthguards – if you check with any dental experts in a dental clinic near you, these are the best oral devices to protect your teeth and jaw. Custom-fitted mouthguards are designed after the impressions of your teeth, taken in a dental clinic. Ideally, the mouthguards are for the specific purpose of protecting your mouth. For instance, the reason an athlete would require a mouth protector will be different from why a teenager with bruxism would need it. As such, both custom-fitted dental night guards and regular mouthguards are tailored to your particular dental needs.
Who Needs Mouthguards?
The best way to know whether you need a mouthguard is by visiting a dentist near you. After your consultation, you should have a clear picture of what it takes to treat your dental issues. Some of the groups of people likely to benefit from mouthguards are:
- Sportspersons – especially those involved in high contact sports like boxing and wrestling
- Patients with bruxism – teeth grinding is common among children and teenagers.
- Kids during intense extra curriculum activities like gymnastics
- If you are at a high risk of mouth injuries – for instance, people who drive racing cars, horse riders, to mention a few.
There is nothing particularly wrong with your choice of mouthguard. The most important thing is to ensure that your mouth is protected, especially if you must engage in risky activities that may harm your mouth. However, if you want the utmost protection for both your jaw and teeth, you will visit a dentist near you for custom-fitted mouth protectors.