Mouthguards are flexible plastic appliances worn to protect the teeth, lips, cheeks, tongue and jaw. They are used during activities that can damage the teeth, most often during contact sports. Properly fitted mouthguards can also help reduce the risk of head, neck and brain injury by absorbing and dispersing some of the shock caused by direct blows to the face or chin. Considering that the mouth is the most commonly injured part of the body during CONTACT SPORTS, mouthguards should be an essential component in most physical activities. Mouthguards worn during physical activity can prevent jaw fractures, tooth fractures, concussions, cerebral hemorrhaging, laceration or bruising of the lips, cheeks or tongue and all sorts of dental trauma. Facial injuries, particularly dental trauma, can be painful and costly.
STOCK, MOUTH-FORMED PROTECTORS and CUSTOM-MADE MOUTHGUARDS.
Are pre-formed and come in many shapes and sizes. However, they are bulky and can interfere with breathing and speech. They can be adjusted by trimming the edges, but this does not usually make them much more comfortable. Furthermore, the teeth must be kept clenched to hold the mouthguard in place. Not only are they awkward, but they offer the poorest protection. Stock mouthguards can be found at most Pharmacy and Sporting Goods Stores.
Come in two styles and are found at most Sporting Goods Stores as well. The first type is lined with acrylic or rubber, which molds to the teeth and then sets to keep its shape. The second type is referred to as a boil-and-bite mouthguard. The mouthguard is softened in boiling water. While the guard is warm the user bites into the plastic, leaving an impression of the teeth. The boil-and-bite guards can be re-softened and shaped if you don’t get the right fit on the first try. Mouth-formed guards provide better protection than the stock mouthguards but can still be bulky and interfere with breathing and speech.
Are individually designed for each patient. Since custom mouthguards are made from a cast of your teeth, they provide the best comfort and protection. They are more expensive, but most people report that they are well worth it. Not only are they more comfortable, but they also optimize healthy breathing. Custom mouthguards can be made in several colors and with team logos.
Are specially designed mouthguards made for the whole mouth, or just part of the mouth. They are worn to protect the teeth from GRINDING (BRUXING) or CLENCHING of the jaw while sleeping. It can also help relieve sore jaws, worn teeth, headaches and neck aches. It also prevents your teeth from wearing down or fracturing due to grinding. Usually a spacer is attached to keep the rest of your teeth from touching.