When it comes to taking care of your teeth, you might think of brushing and flossing, and maybe visiting the dentist. But most people might not think about protecting their teeth while playing sports or in the nighttime. This is where mouth guards and night guards come in.
Sports such as football, hockey, boxing, basketball, and others in which there is a high level of contact all come with a high risk of mouth injuries. Even non-contact sports such as gymnastics or skateboarding can result in oral injuries that include chipped or broken teeth, lip and cheek injuries, fractured jaws, root damage to the teeth, and fractured crowns and bridgework. This is why sports guards are so important, for both children and adults who participate in these activities.
Those who suffer from bruxism, or teeth grinding, may not be aware of the serious consequences of the condition. If left untreated, the grinding motion can cause tooth fractures, loosening and wearing down of teeth, and even lead to tooth loss. In addition, teeth grinding can affect the jaw and cause changes in facial appearance. Because grinding usually occurs at night during sleep, night guards are very important in protecting teeth. They prevent the teeth surfaces from grinding together, protecting against chips and cracks. They also help keep the jaw muscles from becoming strained.
There are three types of mouth guards available: stock, boil-and-bite, and custom-fitted. Stock and boil-and-bite mouth guards are available in drugstores and offer a certain amount of protection, though can be ill-fitting and uncomfortable. The highest recommended type of mouth guard is the custom-fitted guard, which is made at your dentist office. These are specially made to fit your mouth, meaning that not only are they the most comfortable and best-fitting option, but they offer the highest level of protection.