When it comes to mouth guards, there is no way to be too safe. These protective tools are used for a variety of reasons, ranging from protection during sports to preventing tooth grinding to avoiding biting an already sore spot on the inside of your mouth.
Although mouth guards may sometimes feel bulky, uncomfortable, and awkward, they’re an important step in protecting and maintaining the health of your teeth, regardless of whether you currently wear braces or never had to get braces at all.
When you’re playing sports, especially contact sports, it’s important to wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth, lips, face, and jaw from impacts that could potentially cause a lot of damage.
Mouth guards are also useful for people who grind their teeth or have a tendency to bite the insides of their mouths. In the case of grinding your teeth, there may sometimes be a need for a splint, which is worn at all times, instead of a simple mouth guard, which is usually worn at night if it is being used to prevent grinding.
In addition to preventing the lacerations that teeth might create inside the mouth, mouth guards can also protect the inside of the mouth against the hard and sharp materials used in metal braces.
Across the board, there are three different types of mouth guards. They all have different advantages, disadvantages, and uses, and they vary in price, availability, and material used. Although dentists recommend certain types and even make their mouth guards, the most important thing is that some mouth guard is worn to protect your teeth.
1. Stock Mouth Guards
Stock mouth guards are typically large and bulky and are often uncomfortable in your mouth because they aren’t made to fit your mouth specifically; they’re just sold for tooth protection in general.
Stock mouth guards are typically made of rubber or polyvinyl, come formed and ready to wear, and are the least expensive type of mouth guard of all three types.
Usually, a stock mouth guard is so uncomfortable that it may cause wearers to gag and have difficulty breathing, and requires that their mouth remains closed for the guard to stay in place. For these reasons as well as the fact that they don’t have any specificity to the user’s teeth, dentists do not recommend wearing stock mouth guards.
However, because the guards are not fitted for each person, they’re easily accessible and available to purchase at most department stores and sporting good stores.
2. Mouth-Formed Mouth Guards
There are two types of mouth guards that fall under the category of Mouth-formed mouth guards, and they are called shell liner and boil-and-bite.
Both types of mouth-formed guards can be bought in a department store or sporting goods store, much like a stock mouth guard.
A shell liner is lined with acrylic gel or rubber. This material molds onto the teeth and then sets to keep its shape. Boil-and-bite guards are made of thermoplastic and are places in boiling water and the molded to the teeth with the use of fingers, the tongue, and biting pressure. The added advantage to boil-and-bite is that if the fit is not comfortable, the guard can be boiled and reformed again.
These mouth-formed guards are better than stock mouth guards because they are formed to fit your individual teeth, but they do not offer the same level of protection as custom-fitted mouth guards.
3. Custom-Fitted Mouth Guards
While these are the most expensive mouth guards across the board, they also offer the best support and comfort as well as the best protection. This is because they are created specifically for your teeth.
When you go to a reputable dentist, such as Dr. Johnson, they will make an impression of your teeth and send it off to a lab where they use the impression to create a mouth guard that is completely personalized and fits only your teeth.
Kate Stefanski, a beauty guru and freelance writer enjoys sharing articles and insight into makeup, healthy eating, and exercise. If you would like to learn more about Kate, you can check out her Google+ profile.