Wearing a mouthguard can help protect your teeth and reduce visits to the dentist. It can be used to protect your teeth during sports or to keep you from damaging your teeth while you sleep. A custom-made mouthguard is the most effective type to have, particularly if you plan to wear it on a regular basis.
Reasons to Wear a Mouthguard
Not everyone necessarily needs a mouthguard, but they are very helpful under certain circumstances. Your dentist can help you decide if you need one based on your individual needs, the condition of your teeth, and your lifestyle.
The most common reasons to wear a mouthguard include:
- You play sports that increase the risk of injury to your mouth
- You grind your teeth at night, causing damage and extensive wear
- You suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)
If you play basketball, football, lacrosse, hockey, or an extreme sport, a mouthguard is important to protect your teeth in the case of direct contact from another player, a ball, or a puck. Most professional athletes wear mouthguards as a matter of course, but unfortunately amateur athletes sometimes skip this important safety precaution.
If you grind your teeth at night or have symptoms of TMD, a mouthguard can help reduce stress and wear on your teeth and your jaw joint. A custom-made night guard or split will fit firmly to your teeth so it won’t fall out during the night, but, since it’s made precisely to fit your mouth, it will be comfortable to wear.
Types of Mouthguards
You can buy pre-made mouthguards over the counter, including boil-and-bite models that can be molded to your teeth. However, these do not fit as well and are not as effective as a professionally made mouthguard that you get from your dentist. If you’re participating in a sport temporarily, an over-the-counter mouthguard might be appropriate until you decide if your participation will be long-term.
If you notice symptoms of bruxism (teeth grinding) or TMD, however, you should bring this up with your dentist to determine if a mouthguard is right for you. Contact our office for more information!