Have you heard of night guards and sports guards and wondered if they were right for you? Both these type of mouthguards work to “guard” your teeth and mouth from potential injury or damage.
Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. Taking the necessary precautions to protect them will translate into a lifetime of healthy, happy smiles!
Mouthguards are used to protect your teeth from potential damage. Some will cover the upper teeth only but in some instances such as if you wear braces or other dental appliances on your lower jaw, you will need these teeth covered too. A mouthguard needs to be protective, comfortable, durable, and easy to clean. It should never restrict your breathing or your speech.
What Are Night Guards?
Teeth grinding, otherwise known as bruxism, is a condition where patients find themselves habitually grinding and clenching their teeth during sleep, potentially causing tooth wear. Bruxism can also cause increased tooth pain or sensitivity, headaches, jaw, neck, or face pain or soreness, and could result in temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). This condition may cause severe pain or tenderness at your jaw joint area or on your face.
You can help your teeth by using a night guard, which is an oral appliance you wear during sleep to absorb all the grinding and clenching forces and to prevent damage to your teeth. Your night guard is made of a material that is not very thick, but strong enough to protect the teeth. Not only will you be protecting your teeth, but you will find that you are sleeping and feeling better than ever!
What Are Sports Guards?
A sports mouthguard or a sports guard is an oral appliance an athlete uses to protect teeth from being damaged by an accident or a blow to the face. It can also prevent you from accidentally biting your tongue or soft tissue. A sports guard is usually made of a thicker material that can absorb the force of sudden impact and is designed to protect the whole mouth, including the teeth and gums.
These are inexpensive mouth protectors you can buy at sporting or department stores that come ready to wear. They often don’t fit too well and can be bulky, making breathing and talking difficult. We do not recommend their use as night guards or sports guards.
Boil and Bite
You can purchase these mouth protectors at many sporting good stores and drugstores. They offer a better fit than the stock mouthguards. To use them, you will first need to soften them in boiled water, and then insert them in your mouth to take your teeth’s shape using finger and tongue pressure.
These mouth protectors are the best to use. We make them for you at our dental office for optimal fit and comfort. First, we will take an impression of your teeth to make a mold which is used to create your mouthguard. Custom-made mouthguards may be the most costly option, but they also provide the most comfort and protection.
Protecting Your Braces
If you wear braces or have fixed bridgework, it is especially important that we properly fit you for a mouthguard. A blow to your face could damage orthodontic appliances or bridges. Additionally, a custom-made mouthguard provides a barrier between your braces and your soft tissue, including your tongue, cheeks, or lips, which will help you avoid a potential injury.
Replacing Your Mouthguards
If your night guards or sports guards show any signs of wear, are damaged, or don’t fit right anymore, you will likely need to have them replaced. Children and teens usually need to replace their mouthguards more often because their mouths keep growing and changing. If you are not sure if your mouthguard needs replacement, it’s best to come in and talk to us so that you can keep your mouth well-protected.
Caring for Your MouthGuards
Both night guards and a sports guards will require similar care. Make sure to rinse yours thoroughly before and after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You will need to regularly clean your mouthguard in fresh soapy water, then rinse it thoroughly.
It’s important to keep your mouthguard dry and clean between games. Place it in a firm, perforated container for storage or transportation to avoid damage, and so that it can dry and keep bacteria from growing. If your mouthguard is acrylic, keep it in fresh, clean water.
Make sure to protect your mouthguard from high temperatures, such as hot water or direct sunlight. The heat can distort its shape and damage it. Always check the fit and look for signs of wear and tear to see if it needs replacing. Make sure to bring your mouthguard with you for an evaluation when you come in for your dental checkup.
Avoid leaving your night guards or sports guards accessible to your pets. Your furry friends may view them as chew toys and cause irreparable damage. Caring well for your mouthguards will keep them working well to protect your teeth for as long as possible!
Protect Your Teeth with Custom-Made Mouthguards
Visit us at Westcliff Family Dental today to learn more about our custom-made night guards and sports guards and how they can provide superior protection for your teeth. Our highly trained and experienced staff is here to help you keep your teeth safe and healthy for years to come. Schedule your appointment today. Your teeth are worth it!
REQUEST YOUR APPOINTMENT TODAY!