Mouth guards are valuable for a couple of things: to protect your teeth from injury if you participate in sports and to prevent grinding and clenching your teeth while sleeping. A mouth guard may prevent symptoms of TMJ a consequence of teeth grinding and clenching.*
In most cases, mouth guards cover your top teeth. However, if you wear braces on your bottom teeth, a mouth guard for your lower teeth may be a good thing, too, to keep from cutting your lips from the braces should you fall or suffer a blow to your mouth.
There are various types of mouthguards, but these three are most typical:
Custom-made mouth guards usually fit the best. They are created either in your dentist’s office or an off-site dental laboratory. Custom mouth guards are made after your dentist makes an impression of your teeth. The impression is used to create your mouthguard.
Boil and bite mouthguards are pre-shaped guards that you boil in water and then bite to allow them to conform to your mouth while the guard is soft and malleable.
Stock mouthguards are a standard shape and are not customized at all. Since you cannot shape them to your mouth, the fit is not always comfortable and sometimes make talking and breathing difficult.
Mouthguards have a finite life; young people should have their mouthguards replaced regularly (every 6-12 months) since they are still growing and their mouth and jaw still is developing. For others, longevity may depend on how often it’s worn.
Your best option is to consult with your dentist at Woods Dentistry to determine what choice is best for you.
* Some literature indicates that mouthguards are not a good option to prevent teeth grinding or clenching as grinding or clenching may be a reaction to breathing stoppage. It may be a warning of sleep apnea. Please consult with Woods Dentistry regarding this information and whether they want it included or removed.