Mouth guards are dental appliances fabricated of soft plastic or laminate material that is worn over teeth and protects the lips, teeth, cheeks, and tongue from injuries during leisure activities or sports.
A mouth guard effectively prevents chipping or breakage of teeth, bone damage, tooth loss, and many other orofacial injuries. Mouth guards also protect a person’s teeth from bruxism.
They simply work as a barrier between a person’s upper and lower teeth and prevent various oral complications by protecting the form and function of original teeth.
A study has shown that athletes who do not wear a mouth guard are 60% more likely to sustain damage to their teeth during sports activities. Therefore, it is always safe to wear mouth guards during all sports and recreational activities in which contact, impact, and collisions are likely to happen.
There are various reasons to wear mouth guards, such as:
- They help prevent broken teeth.
- They can prevent tooth displacement.
- They can prevent missing teeth.
- They can help prevent soft tissue injuries.
- They might also help prevent concussions.
- They can help prevent a broken jaw.
MOUTH GUARD FOR TEETH:
Wearing mouth guards at night helps push a person’s tongue and lower jaw forward, ensuring his breathing is not interrupted during the night. However, for such conditions.
People should get a custom-made mouth guard from their dentist rather than purchasing a ready-made one as these mouth guards do not fit well and can result in further complications.
1. MOUTH GUARD PREVENT TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDER.
The temporomandibular joint connects the skull and the jaw and affects the muscles a person uses to chew. As we clench our teeth in our sleep, we apply pressure to this joint, which can result in misalignment issues and cause TMJ dysfunction.
This disorder causes difficulty in chewing, pain around and in the ears, and severe headaches. TMJ dysfunction might also damage the articular disk which can lead to a trip to the ER.
Wearing a mouth guard effectively prevents this disorder’s development because it eases any tension one can cause on the muscles.
2. PREVENT CHRONIC HEADACHES:
Chronic neck pains and headaches are generally one of the first symptoms of bruxism since temporomandibular joint dysfunction manifests itself through migraines. The tensed muscles in the shoulders, neck, mouth, and jaw result in severe headaches.
This can happen due to teeth-grinding and clenching habits. However, wearing a custom-made mouth guard eliminates chronic neck pains or headaches because you no longer have to tense up the muscles.
3. SAVES MONEY:
Once your teeth wear out or get damaged or fractured, restorative dentistry is the only way out of your dental problems, which involves crowns, fillings, and implants. However, a custom-made mouth guard can prevent all these procedures.
It generally costs around $800 and can protect the form and function of teeth to a great extent. In this way, it effectively saves you a lot of money in the long run.
Wearing mouthguards during recreational and sports activities also saves a person from severe oral disasters and helps avoid all the above-mentioned complex and expensive dental procedures.
TYPES OF MOUTH GUARD:
1. OVER-THE-COUNTER MOUTH GUARD
Over-the-counter or store-bought mouth guards are a one-size-fits-all option that you can purchase at a sporting goods store for a relatively low price. These are pre-formed and ready-to-wear designed primarily for athletics.
But unfortunately, they are not explicitly fabricated for every person’s teeth and are often bulky or do not fit well. Sometimes, it also becomes hard to keep them in place.
In order to keep them in the mouth, one has to bite them down constantly. That’s why they feel uncomfortable. They can even make it difficult to talk, or can also trigger gagging when worn.
Because of their poor fit, these mouth guards offer the least protection for your teeth and are usually not recommended to be worn in sports activities.
2. BOIL-AND-BITE MOUTH GUARD:
Boil-and-bite mouth guards are quite similar to over-the-counter mouth guards because they are also available to be purchased at any sporting store. However, these mouth guards are fabricated from a thermoplastic material that softens when placed in hot water.
After softening the mouth guard in water, people can place it in their mouth and, using their fingers, press the guard onto their teeth. Once set people can remove and place the guard under cold water to fully set.
Though these mouth guards offer better comfort than stock mouth guards, they still do not offer much protection. Molding them according to a bite can change the guard’s thickness in certain areas, which reduces its level of protection and force distribution.
3. CUSTOM MOUTH GUARD:
Custom-made mouth guards offer a superior level of protection unmatched by the guards one can buy at a local sporting goods store. These mouth guards are custom-made specifically fabricated according to your mouth impressions.
During the dental appointment, your dentist will take impressions of your teeth so the mouth guard can provide a comfortable fit and maximum protection to your teeth.
Moreover, the materials utilised for custom-made mouth guards are durable, yet comfortable enough so one can breathe and talk with ease.