A mouth guard is worn to protect teeth from trauma. It’s recommended to wear a mouth guard if you participate in sports involving falls or physical contact such as football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, hockey, skateboarding, gymnastics and mountain biking.
Typical mouth guards cover the upper teeth, and they are designed to protect against broken teeth, cut lips and other damage to the mouth. There are three types of mouth guards: custom-made, boil and bite and stock mouth guards. No matter the type, the mouth guard should be resilient, tear resistant and comfortable.
Boil and bite mouth guards come in a pre-formed shape that can be altered by boiling in water and then biting into the warm plastic for a customized fit. They can be bought at any sporting goods store, and are often used before kids have their permanent teeth because they’re fairly inexpensive and have to be replaced every time they lose or gain a tooth in the top jaw.
Stock mouth guards are also inexpensive and come pre-formed and ready to wear. The downside is they do not fit as well, can be bulky and may make breathing difficult. They are also too big for many kids, and we don’t usually recommend them.
Custom-made mouth guards are individually designed and made in our office, and they are just like professional athletes wear. These are likely to provide the most comfortable fit and best protection. An impression of your teeth will be made and the mouth guard will be constructed over the model. Most of our patients who have all of their top permanent teeth prefer our custom-made mouth guards because they fit and feel much better.
Mouth guards should be replaced as they wear down over time. For more information about mouth guards for you or your child, give us a call!