What Are Mouth Guards and What Is Their Function?
Oct 16, 2021

What Are Mouth Guards and What Is Their Function?

Mouthguards are occlusal devices created to protect your teeth and gums. Customized mouthguards from the dental clinic near you fit and protect your teeth better than over-the-counter varieties. In addition, nightguards created by dentists help ease bruxism. Children and adults must wear mouthguards when involved in contact sports or activities like cycling.

As dental appliances, mouthguards protect your tongue, teeth, gums, and cheeks from injuries caused by teeth grinding or sporting activity. Mouthguards aren’t reserved exclusively for children because adults can also wear them. In reality, dentists recommend a mouth guard for adults or children affected by bruxism, involved in sporting activities like basketball, hockey, soccer, basketball, et cetera, where the risks of injuries to the face and mouth are high. Participating in noncontact sports or activities like ice skating, gymnastics, cycling also involves an increased risk of falling and injuring the mouth.

What Type of Mouth Guard Can You Have?

Two types of mouthguards are available for those involved in sporting activities to protect their teeth from trauma and a dental mouth guard created for patients affected by bruxism, TMJ disorders, sleep apnea, et cetera. Both types of appliances serve different purposes and also appear and feel different. There are many ways you can purchase mouthguards.

The different types of mouthguards include:

  • Customized Dental Mouth Guard: an Impression or mold of your teeth helps your dentist make a customized mouthguard specifically for your teeth and mouth. Customized mouthguards are expensive but provide the best fit and protection. A personalized mouth guard is created specifically for your needs, whether you want it for protection from trauma during athletic competitions or use at night if you grind your teeth. The dentist-provided customized mouthguard is of the highest quality and does its job best protecting your teeth and mouth.
  • Boil and Bite Mouthguard: Thermoplastic material helps make boil and bite mouth protectors you can shape at home to fit your teeth. First, you soften the mouthguard in hot water. Next, you put the softened mouthguard into your mouth using your fingers to press it onto your molars and front teeth. When you are comfortable with the fit, bite down on the mouthguard for approximately 20 seconds. Finally, you remove the device to run it on the cool water. You can repeat the process and reshape the mouthguard until you get the best fit.
  • Stock mouthguards: One size fits all is the concept that helps make stock mouth guards. These appliances are preformed and available ready to wear in supermarkets, drugstores, and online retailers. As stock mouthguards aren’t created explicitly for your teeth, they rarely fit correctly and are uncomfortable. You experience breathing difficulties using a stock mouthguard and are prone to injure yourself because these appliances offer the least protection.

Where Can You Purchase Mouthguards?

Boil and bite and stock mouthguards are available with drugstores, sports goods stores, and numerous online retailers. However, if you want a customized dental appliance, you must contact the dental clinic nearby to have one specifically designed for you.

It helps if you understand most mouthguards fit the upper teeth because they protrude more than the bottom teeth leaving them prone to injuries. If you have braces on your teeth, your dental provider recommends wearing a lower mouthguard as well.

Benefits of Wearing Mouthguards

Replacing or repairing missing or damaged teeth is expensive besides causing unnecessary pain. Wearing a mouthguard during sporting activities helps you to avoid chipped or lost teeth, nerve damage to a tooth, and soft tissue damage to the tongue, inside cheeks, lips, and gums.

Are Mouthguards Durable?

Your frequency of use of the dental appliance, besides the wear and tear, determines the lifespan of a customized mouthguard. However, you can expect the dental appliance to last for several years with proper care. Unfortunately, many people realize they need replacements faster. Treat your customized mouthguard like your natural teeth taking it to your dentist during routine checkups. Your dentist can examine the mouthguard for cracks or other signs indicating the need for a replacement.

Over-the-counter mouthguards are not as durable as the customized variety provided by dentists. As a result, you may need frequent replacements every few months. Furthermore, children and teenagers may need replacements faster as their teeth and mouth grow.

Mouthguards are teeth protectors from injuries when playing sports, cycling, or other activities. Dental mouth guards are helpful to protect against bruxism, sleep apnea, and sporting activity because they provide the best fit after being designed specifically for your mouth.

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