A mouth guard is a dental appliance that is designed to cover and protect your gums and teeth from any kind of injury, especially those that are related to sports.
If you are into any contact sports like field hockey, lacrosse, basketball, ice hockey, soccer, boxing, or football, you should use a mouth guard. Even if you play non-contact sports like gymnastics or recreational activities like mountain biking or skateboarding, it is also a good idea to use a mouth guard. If an accident occurs during such activities, a mouth guard limits the risk of injury to your mouth. By using a mouth guard, you avoid damaging the nerves in your teeth, having your teeth broken or chipped, and even losing your teeth.
If you have the tendency to grind your teeth at night, a condition referred to as bruxism, the constant friction that your teeth go through may cause damage. Your dentist in Dupont Circle, Washington DC is likely to recommend that you use a special mouth protector. This appliance is called a bite splint or a nocturnal bite plate, specifically designed to prevent people with bruxism from harming their teeth.
What are the general types of mouth guards?
Stock mouth guards are mass-produced and affordable. You can buy these ready-to-wear mouth protectors from any sporting goods shop, drug store, and department store. Dentists, however, hardly advise their patients to use this type. The fit leaves much to be desired. You may find it difficult to breath or talk if you use a stock mouth guard. You may also find these mouth guards unwieldy because of their bulk.
If you want a better fit, you might want to consider boil-and-bite mouth guards. You can also get these from sporting goods stores. They are manufactured from thermoplastic material. You soften this type of mouth guard using hot water, put it in your mouth, and shape it around your teeth, contouring it by applying pressure using your finger and tongue.
Made-to-measure mouth protectors are customized for your use. They are made in a dental laboratory using specific instructions from your dentist. An impression is made of your teeth. A mouth guard is subsequently shaped over this impression using a certain material best suited for this function. The time, work, and expertise that the work warrants, as well as the material used, make a customized mouth guard more expensive than the first two types. However, you get your moneyâs worth from the exceptional protection and comfort that you get.
In general, a mouth guard covers only the upper teeth. If you wear a fixed dental appliance or braces on your lower jaw, however, your dentist may also recommend that you use a mouth protector for your lower teeth.
A good mouth guard is one that provides first-rate protection and comfort. It should not make it difficult for you to talk or breathe. It should be tough, durable, and easy to clean.