As a dental patient, you may be wondering how to determine the best mouthguard for you. There are several factors to consider when making this decision, and we will explore them in this blog post. By the end of this post, you should have a better understanding of what to look for in a mouthguard and how to find one that suits your needs. Thanks for reading!
Types of Mouthguards
Mouthguards provide an essential layer of protection for the teeth and gums. Depending on the level of protection needed, there are a variety of types available. These include stock guards, boil and bite guards, and custom guards.
Here is a table comparing the three main types of mouthguards:
|Type of Mouthguard||Description||Pros||Cons|
|Stock||Pre-made, one-size-fits-all mouthguard that requires no customization||Inexpensive and widely available||Poor fit and limited protection|
|Boil-and-bite||Thermoplastic mouthguard that is softened in boiling water, then molded to the teeth for a custom fit||Relatively inexpensive and customizable for a better fit than stock mouthguards||Limited protection compared to custom-made mouthguards|
|Custom-made||Mouthguard that is professionally made based on a mold of the wearer’s teeth||Provides the best fit and highest level of protection||More expensive and may require a visit to the dentist for fabrication|
By considering the pros and cons of each type of mouthguard, you can choose the option that best fits your needs and budget. While stock and boil-and-bite mouthguards are suitable for casual or infrequent use, custom-made mouthguards are recommended for those who require a higher level of protection and a more comfortable fit.
Sports Mouthguard vs. Nightguards
The two most common uses for mouthguards are sports and for nighttime wear. The use of mouthguards in sports is a common sight given their importance in protecting athletes from potentially serious injuries. Sports mouthguards are specially designed for the purpose of cushioning teeth, lips and gums from impact. This reduces the risk of injury when contact sports are played.
Nightguards, also known as occlusal guards, are a type of mouthguard that are designed to protect the teeth and jaw from damage caused by teeth grinding or clenching during sleep. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can cause a range of issues including worn-down teeth, jaw pain, headaches, and even cracked or broken teeth. Nightguards are typically custom-made by a dentist and are made from a durable material that can withstand the forces of grinding and clenching. They are worn over the teeth at night to prevent damage and alleviate symptoms.
Why to Wear a Mouthguard
Protecting your teeth is crucial for both athletes and non-athletes. Wearing a mouthguard during sports or other activities is a great way to safeguard your teeth from unnecessary trauma and damage. A mouthguard also reduces the risk of head trauma and concussion which can be caused by blunt force impacts to the head, face, neck, or jaw. They are especially beneficial for contact sports such as football and boxing in which players might take strong blows to these areas on a regular basis.
Mouthguards should also be worn if you habitually grind your teeth while asleep since they help reduce teeth clenching and grinding. Not only do oral protection devices like nightguards protect your smile, but they can help reduce the risk of temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), headaches, and facial soreness caused by teeth grinding.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Mouthguard
When choosing a mouthguard, there are several factors to consider to ensure that you get the right one for your needs. Firstly, consider the type of activity you will be using the mouthguard for – whether it’s for contact sports, non-contact sports, or for bruxism. The level of protection required will vary depending on the activity. Secondly, consider the fit and comfort of the mouthguard. A well-fitting mouthguard is essential to provide the necessary protection and ensure that it stays in place during use. Thirdly, consider the material of the mouthguard, as this can affect its durability, flexibility, and level of protection. Finally, consider your budget, as the cost of a mouthguard can vary depending on the type and level of customization required. By considering these factors, you can choose a mouthguard that provides the appropriate level of protection, comfort, and affordability for your needs.
What to Expect When Getting a Mouthguard
A mouthguard is a great way to protect your teeth and gums when participating in activities such as sports or recreational activities. When getting fitted for a mouthguard, you can expect to have a dental impression taken of your teeth and gums. This information will then be used to fabricate you a custom mouthguard. The exact size, shape, and materials used for your mouthguard will depend upon its intended use. Once the mouthguard has been fabricated, your dentist will make sure it fits and make any necessary adjustments.
How to Care for Your Mouthguard
Proper care and maintenance of a mouthguard are essential to ensure its effectiveness, longevity, and hygienic use. Here are some tips on how to care for a mouthguard:
- Rinse before and after use: Rinse the mouthguard thoroughly with cool water before and after each use to remove any bacteria or debris.
- Clean regularly: Use a toothbrush and mild soap or toothpaste to gently clean the mouthguard after each use. Avoid using hot water or abrasive cleaners, which can damage the mouthguard.
- Store properly: Store the mouthguard in a ventilated case when not in use to prevent it from drying out or becoming deformed.
- Avoid exposure to heat: Keep the mouthguard away from high temperatures, such as direct sunlight or hot water, which can cause it to warp or lose its shape.
- Check for wear and tear: Inspect the mouthguard regularly for signs of wear and tear, such as cracks or tears, and replace it as necessary.
By following these care and maintenance tips, you can help ensure that your mouthguard remains hygienic, effective, and comfortable to use for the duration of its lifespan.
Wearing a mouthguard is not only important for overall oral health, but to protect against injury during contact sports or when grinding teeth in your sleep. Different types of mouthguards serve different purposes, so it is important to consider your individual dental needs when determining the kind of guard that works best for you. Take the first step towards protecting your smile by scheduling a consultation with Sisko Dentistry to find the right type of mouthguard today!
Dr. Gerald Sisko graduated from Ohio State University College of Dentistry in 1987. He is an active member of the American Dental Association, the Ohio Dental Association, and the Akron Dental Society where he is currently holding a council position. He has had the honor and distinction of being awarded “TOP DENTIST” in Akron and Cleveland as well as Northeast Ohio for the last several consecutive years.