A mouthguard is worn in the mouth to protect your teeth especially during sports and high intensity activities. They are made out of a type of soft plastic and sometimes a laminate. They are essential for providing protection for your teeth, tongue and mouth. Dentists will typically recommend them for children and adults alike who are very active. A mouthguard can help avoid chipping or breaking a tooth, and prevent nerve damage and even the loss of teeth during rigorous activities.
Four Types of Mouthguards
There are several different types of Mouthguards that can be worn to provide protection of the mouth and teeth. The type of mouthguard you wear will depend largely on the types of activities you engage in as well as your current dental health. Talk to your dentist about which type of mouthguard is best for your particular situation. The four basic types of mouthguards include:
- Simple or stock mouthguard
- Boil-and-bite mouthguards
- Vacuum-formed mouthguards
- Pressure laminated mouthguards
A stock mouthguard is the most common and can be purchased at any store which carries sports related equipment. A boil-and-bite mouthguard is also commonly found at sports stores and are boiled so that they are soft and then shaped to the teeth by biting. A vacuum-formed mouthguard is specially made by dental professionals by taking an impression of the mouth and built to fit the mouth and teeth perfectly. A pressure laminated mouthguard is much thicker than other types of mouthguards. It is custom made by the dentist but can also provide more protection than the other choices.
Taking Care of a Mouthguard
It is very important to take proper care of your mouthguard so it can continue to function as it is supposed to by providing a level of protection for your mouth, teeth and gums. Here are ways to care for a mouthguard:
- Both before and after each use, rinse the mouthguard with cold water or a mouth rinse. It can also be cleaned using your toothbrush.
- Use a perforated container to store the mouthguard and protect it during travel to and from activities. If your mouthguard is made of acrylic, you will need to store it in water.
- Keep the mouthguard from exposure to high temperatures that can come from direct sunlight, hot surfaces or very hot water. This helps it keep its shape.
- Examine the mouthguard regularly to make sure there are no holes, tears or breakdowns. If it feels like it has gotten loose, or starts to cause discomfort it should be replaced.
- When you visit your dentist, bring your mouthguard with you so it can be thoroughly inspected.
Talk to Your Dentist
If you are involved in any sports or intense activities discuss wearing a mouthguard with your dentist. If you wear braces the dentist will discuss a special mouthguard with you. Braces need a mouthguard to protect them from damage and it will also help protect the mouth from being damaged or wounded by the braces during contact sports.