With all the over-the-counter mouthguard options these days, many people may wonder why they would need a custom mouthguard. A properly fitted custom mouthguard can be more comfortable and better protect your teeth than a generic or home-fit option. A well-fitted mouth guard can be particularly important in sports to protect teeth from damage. If not customized for you, a mouthguard can actually cause some of the problems it is meant to solve, such as jaw and tooth pain and worsening tooth alignment. While an over-the-counter mouthguard can be effective in a pinch, we don’t recommend them for extended use.
Types of Mouthguards
There are two main types of mouthguards: sports and night guards. Sports mouthguards are designed for high-impact sports, and night guards are used to treat bruxism, or teeth grinding. Dr. Ryan O’Malley can provide both types at our Simpsonville, South Carolina office.
Sports mouthguards are intended to protect the mouth from damage during high-impact sports. Oral trauma can cause discomfort as well as a host of other problems, including tooth discoloration or even loss. If you or your child wear sharp orthodontic devices, the gums or soft inside of the mouth can be vulnerable to injury. Sports mouthguards are made of smooth plastic to cover sharp edges. Typically they are worn only over the upper teeth, but bottom jaw guards may be recommended on a case-by-case basis. A custom mouth guard can even help improve your play: a generic or over-the-counter mouth guard often fits poorly, and a lot of the player’s attention may go to keeping it in place. With a well-fitting custom mouthguard, you can be free to play your best game with no distractions!
Night guards, also called a nocturnal bite plate or bite splint, or simply a mouthguard, is designed to protect the teeth from nighttime grinding and clenching, also known as bruxism. These mouthguards are typically worn at night and help position the jaw for relaxation and to decrease and cushion against grinding. Reducing nighttime grinding can decrease tooth and jaw pain, and even reduce chronic headaches. The mouthguard also prevents the common side effects of grinding, such as chipped enamel or cracked teeth.
How Are They Made?
To get your custom mouthguard, you will need to make an appointment at our office to take impressions of your teeth. The impressions will then be used to mold your custom guards. The mouth guards will typically be made of hard plastic and malleable rubber. When made correctly your mouthguard should stay in place and fit perfectly – not too loose and not too tight.
Caring For Your Mouthguard
Taking good care of your mouthguard is important to ensure it lasts a long time. Both before and after every use you should rinse your mouth guard with warm water and scrub it with your toothbrush. Bring your mouthguard to Dr. O’Malley for its own checkup at least once a year. He will check to make sure it is still working properly. Be sure to keep your mouthguard out of reach of pets – many animals think they make great chew toys!
Schedule an Appointment
If you play a contact sport or think you might have bruxism, you may want to consider a custom mouthguard. Contact O’Malley Dental online or at 864-962-7672 and schedule an appointment with Dr. O’Malley today.