Mouth guards are coverings worn over teeth, and often used to protect teeth from injury from impact and teeth grinding while participating in sporting events.
Pre-made store purchased mouth guards are preformed and come ready to wear. They are inexpensive and can be purchased at many sporting good and department stores. However, little can be done to adjust their fit, they are bulky and make breathing and talking difficult and they provide little or no protection. Dentists typically do not recommend their use.
Boil and bite mouth protectors also can be bought at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. The "boil and bite" mouth guard is made from thermoplastic material. It is placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure.
Custom-fitted mouth protectors are individually designed and made in a dental office or a professional laboratory. First, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and a mouth guard is then molded over the model using a special material. Due to the materials used and customization involved it provides the most comfort and best fit and protection. Please contact our office if you are interested in a custom fitted mouth guard.
Generally, mouth guards cover your upper teeth, but in some instances (such as if you wear braces or another fixed dental appliance on your lower jaw), your dentist will make a mouth guard for the lower teeth, as well. Your dentist can suggest the best mouth guard for you. An effective mouth guard should be comfortable, resist tears, be durable and easy to clean, and should not restrict your breathing or speech.
Mouth guards can be used by anyone – both children and adults – who play contact sports such as football, boxing, soccer, ice hockey, basketball, lacrosse, and field hockey. However, even those participating in non-contact sports (for example, gymnastics) and any recreational activity (for example, skateboarding, mountain biking, horseback riding) that might pose a risk of injury to the mouth would benefit from wearing a protective mouth guard.