Mouthguards - Types of Mouth Guards to Protect Your Teeth

Mouthguards – Types of Mouth Guards to Protect Your Teeth. Are you struggling with teeth grinding at night? Are other activities affecting your teeth?

Types of Mouth Guards to Protect Your Teeth

Are you struggling with teeth grinding or bruxusm at night? Are other activities such as sports affecting your teeth? Learn more about the different types of mouth guards that can help.

How mouthguards can prevent sleep bruxism?

How mouthguards can prevent sleep bruxism?

In simple terms, it’s clenching and grinding your teeth while you sleep. Experts estimate that bruxism affects up to 50% of children, 15% of adolescents, and 8% of adults.

Over time, bruxism can lead to tension headaches and tooth damage. The good news is there’s a simple solution for teeth grinding and common conditions like snoring and sleep apnea.

In this post, we’ll discuss different types of mouth guards and what they’re used for. We’ll also tell you where to get one and how to properly care for it. Keep reading to learn more!

Do I Need a Mouth Guard?

Do I need a mouthguard?

If you think mouth guards are only for professional athletes, think again. Here are 4 ways a mouth guard can make a world of difference in your daily life.

 

  1. Teeth Grinding

As we mentioned earlier, clenching and grinding is a common problem for children and adults. Many people aren’t even aware they have the problem until they wake up with headache or damage their teeth.

 

A mouth guard for sleeping creates a layer of protection between your top and bottom teeth. It helps your jaw muscles to relax and prevents damage to your teeth and gums. A visit to your pediatric dentist or nearest dental clinic can help you know more. 

 

  1. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes you to temporarily stop breathing while you sleep. The lack of oxygen will leave you feeling groggy the next day, and over time, increase your risk of stroke and heart disease.

 

People with severe sleep apnea usually require a CPAP machine to keep their airways clear while they sleep. For people with milder sleep apnea, a specialized mouth guard can do the same thing.

 

The mouth guard for sleeping pushes your tongue and lower jaw forward, ensuring your breathing doesn’t get interrupted during the night. Keep in mind that you’ll need to get this type of nightguard from a medical professional—the ones they sell at the store won’t work for sleep apnea.

 

  1. Snoring

Sleep experts believe that 40% of men and 24% of women are habitual snorers. Snoring is the result of the soft tissues in the back of your throat vibrating as you breathe.

How can a night mouth guard help with snoring? Like the night guard for sleep apnea, these types of mouth guards keep your airways open by gently pulling your lower forward. This can reduce or even eliminate the problem of snoring.

Mouthguards protect your teeth from injures while playing sports

Mouthguards protect your teeth from injures while playing sports

If you or your children are involved in certain types of sports, it’s worth considering a mouth guard for protection. In the event of a fall or facial trauma, a mouth guard will reduce the chance of damaging your teeth, gums, and jaw.

Mouth guards are a good idea if you play team sports such as field hockey, soccer, and basketball. They’re essential for close contact sports like wrestling, martial arts, or boxing.

Different Types of Mouth Guards

Now that you know the different uses for mouth guards, let’s talk about your options for buying one.

Types of mouthguards

Types of mouthguards
  1. Stock Mouth Guards

Stock mouth guards are widely available and easily affordable. You can pick one up from a drug store, pharmacy, or sporting goods store. They come in general sizes (small, medium, or large) and fit over your top teeth.

Although stock guards are an easy option, they also have their drawbacks. Because they’re not customized for your mouth, it’s unlikely that they’ll fit well. You might have some discomfort from certain parts of the guard being too large or too small for your mouth.

Because it’s not a tight fit, you might also have difficulty talking while wearing it.

 

  1. Boil-and-Bite Mouth Guards

The next step up is a boil-and-bite mouth guard, which you can also buy at a pharmacy or drugstore. Rather than a variety of sizes, these types of mouth guards come in one standard size that you customize to fit your teeth.

3. Braces mouth guards 

The injury that can occur during Orthodontic treatment can be greater. The Orthodontic braces have metal or ceramic brackets that might impinge on the soft tissues causing lacerations. Your Orthodontist can fabricate these mouthguard to avoid any such unforeseen injuries during Orthodontic treatment. Invisalign can go a long way in preventing these injuries as it is a clear aligner without sharp brackets or wires.

Individual instructions vary, but typically you’ll drop the mouth guard into boiling water for a few minutes. Once the plastic has softened, you’ll insert it into your mouth and bite down until it molds to your teeth.

These provide a more comfortable fit and feel than stock guards, although it’s still unlikely to be a 100% perfect fit. It will also become weak and need replacing over time, especially if you wear it every night.

3. Pediatric dental mouth guards 

These are custom made for kids by pediatric dentists.The kids can choose their favourite colours or print on them.

Custom Mouth Guards

Custom mouthguards

If you’re serious about protecting your teeth and improving your sleep, your best bet is to visit your dentist and ask about a custom mouth guard. Dentists usually create a mold of your mouth and then craft a guard that’s perfectly suited for your teeth. 

What if you’re unsure whether a mouth guard is the solution you’re looking for? Start with a stock guard or boil-and-bite guard and try it for a few nights.

If you notice an improvement, talk to your dentist about creating a custom mouth guard you can use for years to come. Kids especially might need custom made mouth guards as their dental arch is smaller in size which can be fabricated by a pediatric dentist.

Taking Care of Your Mouth Guard

Taking Care of Your Mouth Guard ​

To keep your mouth guard in good shape, you’ll need to rinse it with cool water or mouthwash after each use. Avoid hot water, as this could warp its shape.

Treat it as an extension of your mouth and clean it with your toothbrush and toothpaste. Check it for holes or other signs of wear and tear, which might mean it’s time for a new one.

When you’re not wearing it, store it in a hard, ventilated container away from children and pets. Bring it with you whenever you have a dental appointment to ensure it still fits properly.

Dental Mouth Guards

Dental Mouthguards

As you can see, mouth guards area multi-functional tool that can solve a variety of problems.

Mouth guards are ideal for anyone who grinds their teeth at night or plays contact sports. They can also help with snoring and sleep apnea.

Although there are some ready-made mouth guard options at the store, your best bet is to visit your dentist and get a custom design. Not only will it be more comfortable for you, but you’ll know you have exactly the type you need to best suit your needs.

Do you have more questions about mouth guards, orthodontics, or general dentistry? Contact us today and we’ll gladly provide the answers.4

Commonly asked questions & faqs about mouthguards

1) A pair of small & large scissors

2) A clean pocket towel

3) A tray filled with ice-cold filtered water

4) A medium-sized bowl with boiling water

6) The mouthguard

 

STEP 1

Trimming the mouthguard

You will have to trim the corners of the mouthguard to achieve a proper fit. Skipping this step might create discomfort at the end of your dental arch if the material impinges on the gums. Wear the mouthguard after trimming it & check it sits comfortably if not the length might have to be further reduced. See to it that you don’t have a gag reflex (a sensation of vomiting) when you wear the mouthguard on your upper teeth.

The main objective for many wearing a mouthguard is to protect the front teeth. Trimming ensures that it sits firmly on the anterior region of your dental arch. Some sports might require protection for the posterior teeth as well. In this case, try not to over trim the mouthguard so that even the molars are protected from trauma.

 

STEP 2

Submerge the mouthguard in hot water.

You can place the mouthguard on a beverage filter & dip it in boiling water for around 40 to 90 seconds. Don’t over dip it to avoid any material distortion.

You can use a kettle for this step, this is more convenient than using a microwave as you check if the mouthguard is softening using a spatula or a spoon.

Do not drop the mouthguard in the kettle as the material might melt if it touches the hot metal surfaces of the pan or kettle.

If you have Orthodontic appliances such as dental braces or dental prosthetics see that the mouthguard is not very hot while you check for its fit. This avoids any damage to the braces of dental prosthetics when the mouthguard is fit perfectly.

STEP 3

Place the mouthguard on a clean towel to remove the moisture & place it on your dental arch to fit your mouth and check for its comfort.

Use your index fingers & press the mouthguard against your front & back teeth till it sits firmly on your dental arch. Remove the mouthguard & insert it again, you can now boil & bite the mouthguard softly to create an impression of your teeth & occlusion. Remember not to chew the mouthguard during this step to avoid any distortion of the material & impression.

Move the top of your tongue against the roof of the oral cavity & suck on the mouthguard till you can feel its pressure on the teeth.

STEP 4

Dip your mouthguard in a small pot filled with cold water. You can use filtered water instead of tap water to avoid any contamination. Let it cool for a minute or two and try to fit it to the top teeth. This should ensure the proper fit on your bottom teeth as well.

This step makes the material firm after the impression is taken when it comes in contact with the cool water. The mouthguard can now firmly sit on your teeth & protect them from dental trauma especially during contact sports! If you still feel some discomfort after this mouthguard in your mouth, you can repeat the above steps until a proper fit is achieved.

Injuries and sports are something that always goes hand in hand. However, one often lesser talked about aspect is dental injuries in sports especially contact sports such as football, lacrosse, field hockey, and ice hockey. Many of these injuries are preventable through the use of specific mouthguards. However, due to the lack of supervision at a recreational and non-professional level, dental injuries related to orofacial injuries and craniofacial injuries are on the rise.

Studies indicate that approximately 30 Million children play college-level sports in the United states alone and a lack of use of mouthguards in sports has led to an increase in sports-related dental injuries, especially in team sports with many of the cases being avulsed teeth where the entire tooth is knocked out.

Due to the high incidence of dental injuries in sports, the American dental association has recommended that primary care providers such as nurses, athletic trainers, and team physicians be trained in the assessment of dental injuries.

The main methods for reducing risk factors and preventing tooth loss in sports are through the use of custom-fitted mouthguards and headgear consisting of helmet and face protector. Parents must encourage kids to wear mouthguards as kids may tend to shy away from it due to peer pressure, aesthetic appeal as well as perceptions that some sports are less risky than others. 

Policy Prevention of Sports-related Orofacial Injuries was developed in 1991 and was a big step in preventing dental injuries in sports. Children with untreated trauma to permanent teeth can have implications that last a lifetime.

A mouthguard is a soft plastic device used especially in contact sports to prevent oral injuries and help protect the soft tissues around the tongue, lips, and cheeks. Mouthguards are mandatory in collision sports such as football and are worn even by recreational football players. Trauma in sport is very prevalent although it is not spoken about much. 56% of concussions occurred when mouthguards were not worn thus proving its importance is not restricted to just protect your teeth.

While stock mouthguard or ready to wear is a good option, custom made ones offer better protection and comfort. Sporting good stores all across the US sell different types of mouth guard. Boil and bite mouthguards are easy to customize since they can be molded into the shape of the teeth. It is a thermoplastic material placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using pressure from the tongue and finger.

In many countries, dental insurance is not covered for all athletes, whereas dental bills can shoot through the roof in severe cases. It is advisable to custom-fit a mouthguard made by your dentist. This offers maximum protection, comfort, and durability.

Many parents want to know if it is advisable for their kids to wear mouthguards while undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces. Pediatric dentists at Growing Smiles suggest that a mouthguard can reduce the impact of the braces on the child’s soft tissues such as lips, cheeks, and tongue so it is imperative that they wear a mouthguard over their braces.

All statistics suggest that there are enough and more reasons to ensure that mouthguards are worn by sports persons at all levels in contact sports to help prevent dental and craniofacial injuries.

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