Mouthguards are coverings worn over teeth, and often used to protect teeth from injury from teeth grinding and during sports.
There are three types of mouth guards:
Stock mouth protectors are preformed and come ready to wear. They are inexpensive and can be bought at most sporting good stores and department stores. However, little can be done to adjust their fit, they are bulky, make breathing and talking difficult, and they provide little or no protection. Dentists 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 based on your dentist’s instructions. 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 use of the special material and because of the extra time and work involved, this custom-made mouth guard is more expensive than the other types, but it provides the most comfort and protection.
Mouthguards are most commonly seen and associated with football
and hockey players. More and more mouthguards are being used by participants in basketball, baseball, lacrosse, wrestling, and any other sport which may present the risk of tooth injury.
The purpose of a mouthguard is to protect the upper teeth from injury resulting from collisions, blows to the jaw, hits from balls, pucks, sticks, bats and similar sports objects. Sports injuries involving teeth are most common among children and teenager than any other age group. The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends mouthguards to reduce these types of injuries.