Night Guards/Sports Guards
The terms "mouthguard" and "night guard" refer to the same basic appliance, a plastic covering that is worn over the teeth for protection. There are three major types of mouthguards: stock protectors, boil and bite protectors, and custom-fit protectors. The first two options are store-bought and inexpensive. However, they are usually bulky, uncomfortable, and less effective than the custom-fit alternative. At Brush & Floss Dental Center, we specialize in custom-fit mouthguards because we believe they are the ideal solution, whether you need one for physical activities or to combat bruxism.
Why You May Need a Mouthguard
We recommend mouthguards for anyone, children and adults, involved with physical activities that put them at risk for injury or trauma. This includes contact sports such as ice hockey, football, soccer, basketball, boxing, field hockey, and lacrosse. We may also recommend a mouthguard if you participate in recreational activities like skateboarding, mountain biking, and rollerblading. Even those who participate in gymnastics could benefit from wearing a mouthguard.
In general, mouthguards are used to cover the upper teeth. However, our doctors may recommend a mouthguard for the lower teeth as well, specifically if you wear braces or another fixed appliance. Your custom-fit mouthguard should be comfortable, durable, and resistant to tears. A good mouthguard is also easy to clean and does not affect your breathing or speech.
Why You May Need a Night Guard
A night guard is one of the best ways to treat nocturnal bruxism. The plastic appliance will shield your enamel from the pressures of your bite. Your night guard may take some getting used to, but after about a week it will begin to feel normal. Because it is custom-fit, you should not experience any pain or discomfort. If you chose not to wear a night guard, you might be putting yourself at risk for serious complications later down the line. Stress-reduction techniques are also a popular way to reduce the harmful effects of bruxism.
A sports guard is a plastic covering that protects the teeth from injury and trauma. While there are three types of guards, we almost always recommend a custom-designed appliance. A custom-designed sports guard offers superior comfort, durability, and effectiveness.
Avoiding Injury and Trauma
As professional dentists, we believe we must prevent, or at least help prevent, certain oral health problems like injury and trauma. Thanks to improvements in technology and education, it has never been easier to prevent facial trauma. Wearing a sports guard is one of the best ways to protect your teeth during activities that may result in facial injuries.
Trauma to the mouth can result in soft tissue lacerations, fractured or broken teeth, partially dislodged teeth, or knocked-out teeth. According to the Columbia University of Dental Medicine, roughly 80% of these injuries affect at least one anterior (front) tooth. Moreover, 13% to 39% of these injuries occur during sporting activities.
Types of Sports Guards
Regardless of which type of sports guard you choose, it should provide basic protection for the teeth and gums. In most cases, a sports guard only needs to cover the upper teeth to provide adequate protection. However, we may recommend one for the lower arch as well, especially if these teeth have braces or an existing restoration.
The three types of sports guards are:
||Stock Guards: This store-bought product comes prefabricated and ready-to-wear. Because they come preformed, they often bulky, uncomfortable, and cause breathing issues for many people. We usually do not recommend this type of guard unless it is a temporary or last-minute measure.
||Boil and Bite Guards: Another store-bought product that is slightly more effective than a stock guard. These guards are made from a thermoplastic material that becomes malleable with heat exposure. After being placed in hot water, the guard can be shaped over the teeth. The fit of a boil-and-bite guard largely depends on how well you shape it.
||Custom-Designed Guards: This type of guard, which is by far the best option, is made from a resilient, tear-resistant, and comfortable plastic material right here in our office. We use an impression of your teeth and gums to ensure your guard precisely fits your mouth. Most professional athletes prefer custom-designed guards due to their superior comfort, effectiveness, and durability.
How Long Do Sports Guards Last?
Generally speaking, a sports guard should be replaced after each season. The plastic tends to wear down over time, making them less safe and effective after a significant amount of use. Children tend to need more frequent replacements as their teeth and jaws continue to develop, which may affect the fit of their guard. Talk with our doctors to find out about our guard options.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
If you or a family member needs a sports guard, our team is happy to help! Call (203) 683-5253 to schedule an appointment today!