Mouth guards can protect your teeth as well as other parts of your mouth, such as your gums, from damage. They can be custom-molded in your dentist’s office, with a lab creating a guard to comfortably fit your mouth and address your needs.
What is a Mouth Guard?
Mouth guards are plastic devices that are worn over your upper teeth. The most comfortable, protective type are custom-designed for you based on your dentist’s instructions. Your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and mouth, and a lab will make your mouth guard by molding special material around it.
Why Would You Need One?
There are two different types of mouth guards, each worn for different reasons:
- Occlusal night guard – This guard is form-fitting and is made of hard acrylic plastic. It’s designed to protect the teeth of patients who grind or clench their teeth at night and absorb the force of this clenching and grinding. Without this protection, teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) can lead to long-term problems such as worn enamel and broken teeth or fillings.
- Sports mouth guard – This type of guard is worn while you’re playing sports or engaging in recreational activities. It helps protect your teeth, lips, tongue, jaw, and soft tissue of the cheek and lips from damage. A mouth guard can be helpful not only for people who play contact sports, but also those who run the risk of falling or being hit by a ball. These include people who participate in gymnastics, basketball, and soccer.
Who Makes a Good Candidate for a Mouth Guard?
You could make a good candidate for a mouth guard if your teeth/other parts of your mouth need additional protection. This is true if you grind or clench your teeth at night or if you play sports or engage in recreational activities that could damage your teeth or other parts of your mouth, such as your lips or gums.
What are the Benefits of Wearing a Mouth Guard?
Wearing a mouth guard provided by your dentist offers the following benefits:
- Custom-made to fit your teeth and mouth
- Durable and resistant to tears
- Easy to clean
- Shouldn’t restrict your breathing or speech
- Protects your teeth against the effects of grinding or other damage
- Can be worn even if you have braces, crowns, or bridges