A mouth guard is a dental appliance custom-fit to a patient’s teeth. Mouth guards serve varying purposes and are often recommended for use in patients of all ages. It is important that mouth guards be professionally fit, rather than purchased over the counter, as this ensures maximum comfort and protection during wear. Professional dental guards are usually prepared in a dental lab using an oral impression taken in a dentist’s office. These guards are created uniquely to each patient to prevent discomfort, slippage or inadequate protection. There are many reasons why a dentist would prescribe a mouth guard to a patient. They include:
- To protect the teeth, tongue and cheeks during sports and high-impact activities
- To protect the teeth from nighttime grinding, clenching, and TMJ.
Did you know?
Caring for a dental mouth guard is simple. You’ll need to rinse it before and after every usage using a soft-bristled toothbrush, toothpaste and cold water. From time to time, cleanse it with cold water and a mild soap. When not in use, store your mouth guard in a hard, ventilated container and keep it away from hot temperatures that could cause your guard to warp.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a mouth guard?
You absolutely need to be fit for a custom mouth guard if you participate in sports or activities that put your oral health at risk. These guidelines also apply to children, who often play sports like football or participate in activities like martial arts, which can cause tooth-related injuries. You may also need a mouth guard if your dentist diagnosis you with bruxism, or tooth-grinding. Over time, grinding or clenching the teeth can lead to wear and irreversible damage. Sleeping with a mouth guard can protect the teeth from these unwanted side effects.
What should I expect when being fit for a dental mouth guard?
Being fit for a mouth guard is simple. You’ll visit your dentist, who will take an impression of your teeth and send it off to a dental laboratory. The lab will carefully construct a durable and comfortable new mouth guard that you can pick up at your dentist’s office.
Will I need to return to my dentist after getting my new mouth guard?
Yes. Although custom mouth guards are made of durable materials and designed to last through many uses, they do need to be replaced from time to time. Keep an eye on your mouth guard, checking it frequently for wear. Also, bring it with you to your normal dental cleanings and check-ups for a professional inspection. Be sure to tell your dentist if your mouth guard no longer offers an optimal fit or if it has become uncomfortable to wear.