Mouth guards

Mouth-guards are protective coverings worn over the teeth by sportspeople for protection from injury resulting from trauma. These coverings should be worn by both children and adults who engage in sports activities that require contact to prevent injury and damage to the teeth. Also, mouth-guards can be prescribed if you suffer from sleep apnea and to reduce snoring.

Types of Mouth-guards

There are various types of mouth-guards, including:

  • Stock Mouth-guards. This type of mouth guard is ready to wear and is relatively inexpensive. They are also easily found in department and sporting stores. While they are convenient, they may not be a good fit for the wearer, but nothing can be done to adjust them. They are also bulky and make it difficult to breathe and talk. Dentists do not recommend this type of mouth guard.
  • Boil and Bite Mouth-guards. These can also be bought at sporting goods stores and are better than stock protectors because they fit better. This boil and bite alternative is made of thermoplastic which is placed in boiling water to soften it. The wearer then puts the mouth guard in the mouth and shapes it around the teeth with a finger and tongue. They still do not fit ideally and tend to become worn easily.
  • Custom-fitted mouth-guards. These are mouth-guards that are designed for you and made at the dental office or in a lab. To make them, the dentist makes an impression on your teeth. This impression is used to mold the mouth guard using a unique material. This alternative may be more expensive, but it offers the best comfort and protection and will have lasting results. It also is the safest for your teeth and bites.

When you wear a mouth guard, it may cover only the upper teeth. This happens when you are wearing other dental appliances such as braces and dental implants on the lower jaw. In such a case, the dentist will know the best mouth guard for you. Ideally, the one you are given should be comfortable and should not make it difficult to breathe.

MouthguardIt is vital to customize a mouth guard in such cases because a blow to your mouth may damage the braces. The mouth guard also acts as a barrier between your mouth and these appliances when you are playing, making it impossible to injure the cheek and gum areas

Caring for the Mouth guard

You can take several steps to ensure that you are getting only the best service from your mouth guard.

Ensure you brush your teeth and floss before putting your mouth guard in. Ensure you rinse the mouth guard with mouthwash and water before it goes into your mouth and when you take it out. The water used should be cool as hot water warps its shape.

Apart from brushing your teeth, it would be best if you brush your mouth guard with liquid antimicrobial soap and a brush after use. Ensure it is not damaged, and when it is, it may be time to replace it. Ensure you take your mouth guard with you when you go for dentist appointments so the dentist can check its fit and ensure it still works as it should and clean it thoroughly. Keep your mouth guard out of reach of children and pets.

Stock and boil and bite mouth-guards are more likely to wear out faster and may need replacement sooner than custom-made mouth-guards, which are stronger. Also, children and teenagers will likely replace their mouth-guards more as their mouths change as they grow. However, your mouth guard’s general lifespan will depend on the type and how often you use it. A good custom mouth guard could last you years if adequately cared for.

Most insurers cover a portion or all of a mouth guard’s costs because they are a necessity and are not considered cosmetic. Check with your insurer to see what they cover and what they do not. Also, check with your dentist to see if there are dental payment plans you can choose from.

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