Custom-Made Protection for Your Teeth
Mouth guards are removable pieces of plastic that fit over your teeth to protect them from injury and wear-and-tear. They are most often recommended for patients who are avid sports players and patients that suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding). Sports players with braces are in particular need of mouth guards as a single injury could damage their braces and undo much of the work they have been doing to correct your smile.
TYPES OF MOUTH GUARDS
There are three types of mouth guards, two of which are pre-made that can be bought at most sports equipment retailers and one that is custom made by your orthodontist.
The three types of mouth guards include:
- Pre-made Mouth Guards – These are the typical mouth guards that you can find at most sporting goods stores. They come in a variety of sizes. It is important to find one that is tear-resistant and fits comfortably inside your mouth. Because they are mass produced, it is unlikely you will find one that perfectly fits your mouth.
- Boil and Bite Mouth Guards – These are the in-between of pre-made and custom mouth guards. These guards are made of thermoplastic material that softens when placed in hot water. After placing it in hot water for about 45 seconds, quickly dunk it in cold water then bite down on it so the plastic can conform to your specific bite. While more adaptable than a pre-made mouth guard, the boil and bite guard will still not be a perfect fit for your mouth like a custom guard.
- Custom Mouth Guards – A custom mouth guard is designed by your orthodontist to specially fit your mouth. First, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth. The mouth guard is molded over this impression to create a piece that is specially made to fit your mouth. This is the most comfortable and durable of the three types, and is primarily used by patients with bruxism and athletes who wear braces.
MOUTH GUARD MAINTENANCE
Keeping a mouth guard clean is of the utmost importance. Be sure to scrub it after each use with a toothbrush and toothpaste before placing it back in its case. Take care to not place the guard in the sun or hot water as this may distort the shape. Even with proper care, mouth guards should be replaced about once a year. Bring your mouth guard with you when visiting your dentist so they can check its condition and make sure it’s still in good shape.
If you are interested in a custom mouth guard or just want to learn more about mouth guards in general, CONTACT BREWER DENTAL CENTER to schedule a free consultation with our dentists.
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