What Protection Does a Mouthguard Provide?
There are many generic mouthguards available on the internet or at the local drug or sporting goods store. But even though some advertise the ability to “custom fit”, most of these over the counter guards are bulky, ill fitting, and uncomfortable to wear. And if something doesn’t fit well or is uncomfortable, the likelihood of wearing it is diminished. A customized mouthguard designed specifically to fit you, and fabricated for your specific needs, is best acquired from your dental office.
A mouthguard is used for:
Sports or Physical activity – Whenever there is potential for injury from physical contact, a mouthguard will protect teeth and the soft tissues in the mouth by preventing teeth from being knocked out or biting into the tongue or cheeks. Whether the contact can occur during a physical sport like football, or something as benign as riding a bike, wherever there is danger from contact or a fall, wearing a mouthguard can prevent serious injury along with hours of expensive and time consuming dental repair.
Grinding and Clenching – Many patients develop this habit that starts subconsciously during periods of sleep. Stress, anxiety, anger, and frustration are emotions that can manifest into teeth grinding. However, grinding can also occur due to a malocclusion. Your dentist may be able to “adjust” your bite, but wearing a mouthguard during sleep can prevent this nighttime habit from creating dental problems.
It is important to note that the same mouthguard is not appropriate for both of these unique problems.
The guard acquired for protection during activity will be designed to wear most often on the upper teeth. Its design and material provide the maximum protection available while allowing the athlete to breathe and talk. Athletes may be saved from severe injuries because the mouthguard stabilizes the jaw while protecting the teeth.
A bite splint designed for the prevention of teeth grinding is usually made to be worn on the upper teeth as well. Having this guard fabricated at your dental office will allow for the best design and fit, which will encourage wearing it every night.
Our teeth provide critical daily functions that allow us to chew, speak clearly, and smile with confidence, so protecting them should be a priority for a lifetime of performance and appearance.