Should I Wear A Mouth Guard?

Mouth guards are soft plastic or laminate devices designed to protect your teeth and your mouth’s soft tissues. Proper use of mouth guards can reduce dental and oral injuries by as many as  200,000 cases per year, according to the American Dental Association. Types of injuries that mouth guards can prevent or minimize include chipped or broken teeth, fractured crowns or bridgework, root damage, and fractured jaws.

Most parents realize their children should wear a mouthguard when playing sports, but many adults who play sports don’t recognize they need mouth guards, too. Mouth guards can prevent or Mouth-Guard reduce dental injuries in a wide range of sports activities and should always be worn during contact sports. Even players of many non-contact sports, such as racquetball, also benefit from the use of mouth guards to protect teeth and soft tissues. Aside from use during sports, therapeutic mouth guards can also be used at night to address teeth grinding (bruxism).

There are three basic types of sports mouthguards, and it’s important to understand the protective abilities of each kind.

Mouthguard Protection Basics

  1. Stock mouth guards are those purchased off-the-shelf. These are inexpensive and can be purchased at sporting goods stores such as Dick’s or WalMart. There is little that can be done to adjust the fit of these mouth guards, and they generally provide poorer protection than more customized counterparts.
  2. “Boil-and-bite” protectors are also available at many sporting goods stores. They generally provide better protection than stock mouth guards. This type of protector is made of thermoplastic material, is placed in hot water to soften, and then is molded to the wearer’s mouth shape.
  3. Customized mouth guards are individualized and are made in a dentist’s office or an independent, professional dental lab. Your dentist makes a mold of your mouth, and the mouthguard is made from the mold. This type of mouthguard is the most expensive, but it also provides the highest degree of protection.

“Mouth guards should be worn by anyone who plays sports such as football, boxing, hockey, or who skateboards or mountain bikes,” says cosmetic dentist Dr. Carol Ford, founder of Dr. Carol Ford & Associates in central Phoenix. “Call us today to make an appointment to discuss the best mouthguard for your needs, whether you play sports or are troubled with grinding your teeth.”

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