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The Importance of Dental Mouthguards

by | Jun 14, 2018

Mouthguards help protect your teeth from damage. They are usually worn while playing sports, like football and hockey, or they are worn at night to protect the teeth from nighttime teeth grinding. If you need a mouthguard to protect your teeth, consider speaking to your dentist regarding the options.


When You Should Wear Your Mouthguard

If you play sports, you should consider wearing your mouthguard while you play. Common sports where mouthguards should be worn include football, baseball, hockey, skateboarding, boxing, rugby, and skating. However, this is not a comprehensive list. If you think that you or your child could get hit in the mouth while playing the sport, a mouthguard should be worn. Some people even wear mouthguards while participating in water sports and biking.

The second time you should wear a mouthguard is at night if you are prone to grinding your teeth. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can wear down your teeth, leading to worn enamel, sensitive teeth and even cracked teeth. Most individuals do not know that they have bruxism until it starts affecting how their teeth feel and look. Common signs include waking up with a sore jaw or a headache. Your dentist can examine your teeth to determine if you have bruxism and need a mouthguard.


Types of Mouthguards

There are three types of mouthguards, preformed, semi-custom, and custom. The type of mouthguard you choose will be dependent on your needs.


Preformed Mouthguards

Preformed mouthguards are the least expensive type of mouthguard available. They can be purchased anywhere that sells sporting goods. To use these mouthguards, you simply clean them and insert them into your mouth. However, they are not custom fitted for your teeth, which means they may not fit snuggly and may not offer the best protection possible.


Semi-Custom Mouthguards

Semi-custom mouthguards are slightly more expensive than the ready-to-wear mouthguards, but they offer a better fit. These mouthguards are boiled for a certain amount of time then inserted into the mouth. Once they are in the proper position, you bite down in order to form the spaces for your teeth.


Custom Mouthguards

Custom mouthguards are the most expensive option, but they also offer the best fit. If you wear braces, have had previous dental work performed or have crowns or bridges, you probably need a custom-fitted mouthguard. These mouthguards are made by a dentist, specifically for your mouth.


Protecting Your Braces

Braces have brackets and wires that can cause extra damage to your lips, tongue and cheeks if you were to get hit in the face with a ball, bat, or body part. Therefore, it is imperative that you always wear a mouthguard if you have braces and play sports. However, braces offer a unique challenge when it comes to protecting your mouth from impacts during sports or from nighttime teeth grinding. The additional bulk on your teeth may make finding a properly fitting mouthguard at the sporting good store difficult, and using a boil and bite mouthguard may dislodge the brackets or wires when you bite down.

In order to get the best possible fitting mouthguard for your needs, you may want to consider a completely custom mouthguard. It is in this way that your mouthguard will be formed to fit over your teeth and your braces so that you are protected against impacts while playing sports.


Care and Replacement

In order to maximize the useful life of your mouthguard, you should always store it in its case when you are not using it. Before you put in your mouthguard, make sure it has been cleaned with a mild soap and water and rinsed thoroughly. Once you are finished with your mouthguard, you should clean it again and put it back in its case.

It is also important to examine your mouthguard periodically for visible damage and keep it out of sunlight and areas where it is extremely hot. If you notice any damage on your mouthguard, it will need to be replaced.

Triangle Dentistry, located in Raleigh, NC, provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of a patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions, or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 747-3608.