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What are Mouthguards?

Mouthguards are incredibly important for protecting one’s teeth. Mouthguards cover one’s teeth and protect the teeth from a variety of possible injuries, and keep you from needing an emergency trip to the dentist.. There are three main types of mouthguards that you can choose to purchase, depending on the intended usage. The three main types are stock protectors, boil and bite protectors, and custom-fitted mouth protectors.

Types of Mouthguards

Stock protectors have the benefit of arriving in a preformed setting that is ready to wear. They are also less expensive than the other types of mouthguards and can be found easily at a local sporting goods store. The disadvantage to these types of mouth protectors is that they tend to be bulky, and thus harder to fit within one’s mouth. This can also make breathing more difficult. In addition, these type of protectors offer the least amount of protection out of the three different kinds of protectors. Typically, a dentist will recommend usage of the other two types of protectors before stock protectors.

Boil and bite mouth protectors can typically be found at a local sporting goods store and usually offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. These protectors are made from a thermoplastic material. In order to be fitted to the individual patient, the boil and bite mouth protector will be placed in hot water in order to soften it and then the dentist will put the protector in the patient’s mouth and shape it around the teeth.

Custom-fitted mouth protectors are the most commonly recommended type of protector as they are individualized for each patient in order to provide a perfect fit. This procedure is completed by taking an impression of the teeth and by creating a mold. This can be done within a dental office or laboratory setting based on the preferences of the particular dentist. This procedure tends to take longer than the other two types of procedures and is the most expensive, but this type of mouthguard provides the most comfort and protection and is most often recommended.

Specialty Mouthguards

There are also specific mouthguards for those who have bruxism, or teeth grinding at night that help to reduce or completely prevent tooth damage.  Mouthguards are recommended for people of all ages, but those who play contact sports, such as football, lacrosse, soccer, or hockey should be especially careful and should definitely be fitted for a mouthguard. It can become incredibly important for an athlete to invest in a mouthguard to prevent serious injuries from occurring. For athletes, a mouth guard will absorb some of the force of an upward blow to the jaw that athletes often experience. Finally, a mouthguard will increase overall head stabilization by activating and strengthening the neck muscles. This is important as this will decrease the overall arc of rotation that the head experiences at the time of impact. This ultimately tends to lessen the severity of the concussion that an athlete may experience due to a blow like this while also preventing harmful movements of the brain inside of the skull. Wearing a mouth guard will allow an athlete to play a contact sport more efficiently in a safer manner.

The way that a mouthguard performs this task is due to the makeup of the material and its absorption qualities. The athletic mouthguards are resilient while remaining soft enough to absorb impact and reduce forces. These mouthguards are also the perfect thickness so that they fit comfortably within the mouth while also being thick enough to absorb the force of the blows an athlete may experience. Those who have braces other than the new invisalign, may need some special treatment, but they  are also able to wear the custom-fitted mouthguards. Generally, mouthguards will only cover the upper teeth, however, in specific cases, a patient may need a mouth guard for the lower teeth as well.

Find Out which Type is Best

In order to find out which mouthguard will be the best type for you, visit your dentist and schedule a consultation.   Contact the experts at Samaritan Dental Arts today if you think a mouthguard is something you need, whether to prevent damage during sports, or just to avoid waking up with a sore jaw and aching teeth.

  Dr. Alan Zabolian is a proud member of  
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