Mouthguards: All Information You Want on These Dental Appliances
Mouthguards are dental appliances helpful to protect your teeth from injuries when playing sports. However, sporting activity is not the only reason why mouthguards are recommended. They are also beneficial against various health conditions that may result in damage to your teeth. Depending on your needs, different types of mouthguards are available, helping you relieve multiple problems.
People affected by various conditions commonly use three main types of mouthguards. They are:
Stock mouthguards are generally available and the most inexpensive variety. Finding them is not challenging in sports goods stores and drugstores. Stop mouthguards are favored by athletes and only help cover the top teeth. This mouthguard is available in three sizes-small, medium, and large. While stock mouthguards are inexpensive and readily available, they do have some downsides. Their limited size options make them uncomfortable and don’t provide a correct fit making it difficult for you to speak while wearing one.
Boil and Bite Mouthguards
Boil and bite mouthguards, also sold in most drugstores, are similar to stock mouthguards and affordable. Boil and bite mouthguards are available in one size that you customize to fit your teeth. The customization involves boiling the mouthguard to soften it, placing it over your front teeth, and biting down. If you don’t get the proper fit the first time, you can repeat the procedure.
You can also have custom-made mouthguards from your dentist created explicitly for you. The dentist takes a mold of your teeth for use when creating your mouthguard for the structure of your mouth and teeth. Custom mouthguards from dentists provide a better fit than stock or boil and bite mouthguards. In addition, these devices are more comfortable and harder to dislodge when sleeping.
If you are a victim of bruxism, you can consider mouthguards for grinding teeth customized by your dentist. These dental appliances are more expensive than over-the-counter varieties, but you may receive whole or part of the cost from dental insurers.
Which Type of Mouthguard Is Suitable for You?
Different types of mouthguards have a similar appearance, but they have various functions.
Suppose you are included in sporting activity, offering a high risk of falling or resulting in injuries from impacts to your face. In that case, mouthguards help protect your teeth and prevent them from damaging the delicate muscles in your mouth.
Using a mouthguard is particularly essential if you are involved in football, soccer, boxing, basketball, wrestling, softball, volleyball, in-line skating, skateboarding, cycling, ice hockey, and field hockey. In such cases, stock mouthguards or the boil and bite variety are the best choices for protection when playing sports. Stock mouthguards are ideal for sporting activities because they are inexpensive and an excellent option if you are involved in sporting activities occasionally. However, despite being slightly expensive, boil and bite mouthguards provide a better fit helping them to stay in place. When participating in high-impact contact sports, boil and bite mouthguards are a better option.
If you are affected by a sleep-related disorder called bruxism, the condition can cause various problems, including tooth pain, jaw pain, and sore gums, besides damaging your teeth. Wearing mouthguards for grinding teeth keep your top and bottom teeth separated to ensure they don’t damage each other. However, you must seek treatment from a dentist to provide a custom-made mouthguard because stock mouthguards are challenging to keep in place and uncomfortable. In addition, while offering a better fit, the boil and bite variety become brittle and weak with frequent use.
If the problem of sleep apnea, a severe sleep-related disorder, affects you, temporary interruptions in breathing when sleeping haunt you. The disruption in breathing prevents your brain from receiving sufficient oxygen to increase heart disease and stroke risks. Sleep apnea also causes snoring to leave you feeling groggy the following day. Mild sleep apnea is comfortably treated using a custom-made mouthguard for sleep disorders helping you by pushing your lower jaw forward to keep your airway open. Unfortunately, here again, the over-the-counter varieties are not beneficial because they are not designed for breathing.
Besides, the above mouthguards for TMJ problems help relieve the pain and discomfort caused by temporomandibular joint disorders affecting your jaw joint to cause persistent pain. However, you must invest in a dentist-designed custom-made mouthguard for treating TMJ disorders.
How to Care for These Dental Appliances?
Caring for your mouthguard is not tricky but essential to protect the appliance from damage and keep it clean because it remains in your mouth for quite some time. To derive the best benefits from your mouthguard, please follow these steps.
- Brush and floss your teeth before embedding the appliance in your mouth.
- Rinse the dental appliance in cool water or mouthwash before inserting it and taking it out. Do not use hot water, which can warp its shape.
- Check the mouthguard frequently for holes and signs of damage because it indicates a need for replacements.
- Store your mouthguard in a rigid container with ventilation to protect it and allow it to dry between uses. Don’t keep the mouthguard within reach of pets even when the appliance is in a container.
Mouthguards don’t last forever and require replacements soon as you start noticing signs of wear and tear or after every 2 to 3 years. However, these dental appliances are excellent to protect your teeth and soft tissues in the mouth from damages.