What Are Mouthguards?
Mouthguards are coverings worn over the teeth to protect them from injury during sports or from clenching and grinding of the teeth during sleep (bruxism). There are many different types of mouth guards. Stock mouth protectors that come ready to wear are inexpensive and readily available in most sporting goods stores or department stores. However, they cannot be adjusted to fit the teeth, are bulky and make breathing and speaking difficult, and offer limited protection. Dentists generally do not recommend their use. Night guards that are similar to mouth protectors but are worn while sleeping to prevent damage from bruxism may also be prescribed by dentists.
The most common type of mouthguard is a custom-fitted protector that is fabricated by a dentist. This is usually the best option because it allows for a better and more comfortable fit, provides more protection against tooth injuries, and can be made more precisely to fit the patient’s mouth using dental moulds. Custom-fitted protectors are often more expensive than store-bought mouthguards, but they can save money in the long run by reducing breakage and the need for regular replacements.
To properly care for your mouthguard, it is important to clean it after each use. It is recommended to rinse your mouthguard with warm water or mouthwash after each use, and to brush it occasionally using a fluoride toothpaste. It is also a good idea to store it in a container that will help keep it moist. If your mouthguard is not stored in a container after each use, it will dry out and become brittle, which can cause it to break more easily.
In addition to protecting against mouth and jaw injuries, mouthguards can also be used for the treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), a condition caused by misalignment and/or strain on the jaw muscles that causes pain, discomfort, and tenderness in the jaw area and earaches. Mouthguards can be used to treat TMD by helping to align the jaw and reduce painful grinding and clenching of the teeth during sleep or while playing sports, which is the most common cause of TMD.
If you have any questions about mouthguards or would like to schedule a consultation with Downey Dental Solutions to discuss your options, please contact us today!