People who play contact sports, including football, martial arts, lacrosse, and ice hockey, benefit from wearing a mouthguard. Even non-contact sports, such as skateboarding or mountain biking, pose a risk of falling, so a mouthguard might be in order. You mainly want a mouthguard to save your teeth from being chipped or broken during a hard fall or impact. A mouthguard can also protect your mouth from damage to your lips and tongue.
Your dentist might also recommend a night guard if you clench or grind your teeth at night. You wear it while you sleep to absorb some of the pressure and protect the surface of your enamel.
Mouthguards are often recommended when you wear braces, too. If you fall or experience a hard impact, you could damage the appliances.
You can purchase a mouthguard in a sporting goods store, or over the counter in many drug stores, but these aren’t the best option. They’re usually bulky, uncomfortable, and make it hard to breathe. These one-size-fits-all models don’t really offer much protection, either.
Your dentist makes a custom mouthguard to fit your mouth and teeth. At Lee Dental, an impression of your teeth is made to create the mold for the mouthguard. Usually, the mouthguard covers the upper teeth only, but in some cases, you might have one made for the lower teeth as well.
A custom mouthguard fits over your teeth perfectly. This means it’s going to be more comfortable and offer the greatest protection, and it won’t interfere with breathing or speech. A custom mouthguard may also be adjusted, an option not available when you buy one off the shelf.
Mouthguards are pretty easy to care for and keep clean. You’ll want to rinse it after each use and clean it regularly with a toothbrush and non-toxic soap. Keep it in the perforated container it came in to allow for ventilation and to protect it from damage. Bring it to your regular dental visits to check fit, and to have the dentist examine it for wear and tear.
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