Mouth guards are coverings worn over your teeth, to protect teeth from injury from grinding and also from playing sports. An effective mouth guard should be comfortable, resist tears, be durable and easy to clean, should not restrict your breathing or speech, and fit so that your jaws are properly aligned.
There are three types of mouth guards:
Stock mouth guards come ready to wear. They are inexpensive and can be bought at most sporting good and department stores. Not much can be done to adjust their fit, they make breathing and talking difficult, and they provide little or no real protection. These are not recommend by dentists.
"Boil and bite" mouth guards can also be bought at many sporting goods stores. The "boil and bite" mouth guard is placed in hot water to soften, then is placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure. While these may offer a slightly better fit than stock mouth protectors, they are still found to be uncomfortable.
Custom-fitted mouth guards are custom designed and made in a dental office or a professional lab based on your dentist's instructions. Your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and a mouth guard is then molded over the model. Due to the use of a special material and the extra time and work involved, this custom-made mouth guard provides the most comfort and best protection.
Mouth guards help you avoid chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth, or even tooth loss. If you grind your teeth at night, a nocturnal bite plate or bite splint, may be created to prevent tooth damage.
If you think you, or a family member, are a candidate for a mouth guard or night guard, call the StarBrite Dental office at (301) 770-1070 and schedule a consultation.
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