Dental clinics offer customized mouthguards as a protection device for those involved in contact sports and/or for those who experience teeth grinding while they sleep.
Mouthguards have been used in various sports and physical activities to protect not only the teeth but the neck, jaw, and head from serious damaging blows.
What Is a Mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a dental appliance usually constructed of plastic or rubber material used to protect the lower and upper teeth, from trauma due to sports injuries or grinding of the teeth. The device is placed on the upper to prevent the teeth from coming together and prevent the jaw joints from tightly closing.
Who Should Wear a Mouthguard?
Dental care professionals advise all contact sports players should wear a mouthguard on the field or ice at all times. For protection, children and adults partaking in gymnastics, martial arts, skateboarding, cycling, squash, weightlifting and volleyball should also use a mouthguard.
For anyone experiencing teeth grinding during sleep (bruxism), a mouthguard can also be used to protect the teeth and the soft tissue of the mouth. This device can also be called a nightguard.
Advantages of Wearing a Mouthguard
The advantage of wearing a mouthguard is twofold; it can help protect the mouth and teeth during contact sports and can prevent continuous grinding of the teeth (bruxism) during sleep. With both cases, the teeth can be chipped or broken leading to tooth loss.
In addition, mouth injuries from contact sports and bruxism may result in damage to the soft tissue within the oral cavity. Face injuries from hard hits in a sport can lead to jaw fractures, concussion, neck injuries, and cerebral hemorrhage which all happen when the lower jaw is forced into the upper jaw.
Types of Mouthguards
Whether this dental appliance is needed as protection or to be worn to prevent teeth grinding, there are three main types of mouthguards commonly used and they include:
Stock mouthguards are found at sporting goods stores and pharmacies. Usually designed with a polyvinyl or rubber material, this type of mouthguard may be uncomfortable for most people as the bulkiness causes breathing and speech problems. Stock mouthguards are considered low on the protection scale.
Custom-fitted mouthguards are designed for the shape of your mouth by your dentist. A mould of your mouth and teeth will be made to ensure a tight and secure fit of the mouthguard. This type of mouthguard can be used to stop teeth grinding at night or to be used as protection for sports play.
Boil and Bite Mouthguards
Boil and bite mouthguards provide a customized fit that can be done at home. As it is made from a thermoplastic material, the mouthguard requires to be softened in hot water (not boiling as the name suggests). It is then placed in the mouth and there is carefully pressed into place onto the teeth with your fingers. Once positioned, bite for 20 seconds to form the mold. Remove and place immediately in cold water to secure the fitting. It may take several attempts to find the proper fit.
How to Take Care of Mouthguards
To ensure your mouthguard stays in good condition and lasts it’s expected lifespan, there are several care tips that are advised.
Rinse & Clean It Properly
It is important to maintain a regular cleaning regime with the mouthguard. Before use, rinse with cool water and allow it to air dry before use. After use, rinse it in cool water and use a soft toothbrush and soap to carefully clean away any food particles. Rinse and air dry it before placing it in the protective container.
Keep Mouthguard in a Firm Plastic Container
To protect the mouthguard and your oral health, store it in a strong plastic container with vent air holes when not in use. Leaving it sitting around unprotected increases the risk of damage and the chance for it to have harmful airborne particles settle on it.
Keep It Away from High Temperatures
All mouthguards are susceptible to damage such as warping or changing shape when exposed to hot temperatures. Be sure to avoid cleaning with hot water or leaving it in direct sunlight.
Carry the Mouthguard Regularly While Visiting Dentist
Whether the mouthguard is a custom-made appliance or one purchased in a store, it is important to take it to your regular dental visits. The shape and formation of the mouth and teeth change over time. Having your dentist check to see if the mouthguard is helping or harming your oral condition can prevent permanent damage to your teeth.
Book Your Appointment to Get Professional Dental Care Treatment in Etobicoke
The Princeview Dental Group offers a variety of dentals solutions to address your oral issues that may require a customized mouthguard. Our friendly team has been providing regular and dental emergency services in Etobicoke for more than 30 years. Contact us today at (416) 231-4562 to book an appointment today.