Basic oral health care practices go a long way, but sometimes brushing and flossing regularly just isn’t enough to protect your teeth. Your dentist may recommend a range of protective devices to keep your teeth from being damaged during certain activities or from unconscious habits like tooth grinding. Mouthguards are perhaps the most widely recommended dental device today. They can prevent sudden tooth loss from injuries or protect you from jaw and tooth pain as time goes by. Of course, not all mouthguards are used for the same purposes or offer the same benefits. Find out what kind of guard you might need and what to look for in a quality mouthguard.
Hard Night Guards
Night guards are perhaps the most common type of dental guard prescribed to adults today. These guards aren’t just designed for comfort during sleep. They’re built to address tooth grinding issues that can cause wear on your teeth. This wear erodes the enamel, can lead to cracked or chipped teeth and causes pain in your jaw. Hard night guards are just like the name suggests. They’re made from a firm plastic material that is tough enough to handle the most severe grinding cases. For some people, only a hard night guard will actually protect their teeth. However, the boil-and-bite style sold at drug stores is quite uncomfortable. Get a custom fit night guard if you need a hard model since issues with the fit could cause sore spots in the mouth where the material rubs on the gums or cheeks.
Soft Night Guards
Soft night guards are also designed for protecting the teeth and jaw from the effects of grinding while asleep. Tooth grinding is primarily a sign of stress, but some dental patients find they can only reduce their grinding and not completely stop it. Soft guards are more comfortable than hard guards for this issue. However, they’re only durable enough to handle cases of mild to moderate grinding. Using a soft guard when your dentist has recommended a hard guard could leave you still dealing with a sore jaw or teeth. Even though soft night guards are made from a flexible and rubber-like material that stretches slightly to fit your teeth, you should invest in a custom-molded guard for the highest level of comfort and longest-lasting device.
Daytime Grinding Guards
Some people just can’t stop grinding their teeth through the usual methods of relaxation and distraction. If your dentist determines that you are grinding your teeth during the day as well, you may need a daytime grinding mouthguard. It’s not a good idea to wear the same kind of guard you’d wear at night through the day. It may be more visible than you’d like, while daytime guards are easily made nearly invisible to protect your teeth without being obvious. Daytime grinding guards absolutely must be custom-fitted since you’ll be wearing them for so long each day. Every little issue with fit will be exacerbated, so make sure you’re not getting a generic guard if you’re starting daytime wear.
Stock Sports Mouthguards
Aside from mouthguards designed to protect against tooth grinding, the majority of other dental guards are designed for sports use. Sports mouthguards absorb the brunt of any shock to your face during activities like soccer, ice skating, football, horseback riding, and more. You should wear a mouthguard pretty much any time you could fall down or off of something, get hit by equipment or a fellow player, or have a specific risk to your mouth. Stock sports guards are the most inexpensive option and can be found at almost every drug store. However, they’re very uncomfortable and tend to get ignored by actual players. It’s far better to invest in a mouthguard that fits properly both for comfort and to ensure it’s deflecting shock properly to protect your teeth.
Custom-Fit Sports Mouthguards
Customized sports mouthguards are available from the dentist. While there are products available at drug stores that claim to mold to your teeth after a short soak in boiling water, they are still highly limited in how well they’ll conform to your teeth and gums. Since you’ll be wearing the sports guard for hours on end during many activities, you’ll want something comfortable and easy to wear. Custom-fit sports mouthguards are recommended for both adults and children to encourage their use. The guard can only protect your teeth if you’re actually wearing it, and an accident can occur in just seconds while you have the guard out for a break. Choosing a comfortable model will keep it from distracting you and affecting your performance as well.
Why Get Professional Quality Mouthguards?
No matter the type of mouthguard you need, you should visit your dentist for custom manufacturing. A carefully made mold of your teeth will produce a much higher quality mouthguard regardless of its purpose. These guards also last much longer. Stock nightguards and athletic mouthguards from the drug store often break or wear down after just a few months. In comparison, professionally made mouthguards of all kinds tend to last years before needing replacement.
Schedule with us today to find out how we can help here at Eastgate Dental Excellence with night guards and athletic mouthguards. Bring in any guards you use currently so we can determine how to best improve your experience with wearing one of these important dental devices.