Mouth guards protect your teeth from various trauma, such as grinding your teeth or injury during sports.
They are worn over your teeth. Typically, only your top teeth are covered by the mouth guard. However, if you wear braces or have some other fixed dental appliance on your lower teeth, your dentist will make a guard for those, as well.
There are different “guards” for different uses:
- Night guards are typically used for daytime and/or nighttime grinding and clenching
- Mouth guards are for sports protection
- Bite guards are for TMJ (Temporomandibular joint disorder)
Types of Mouth Guards
Stock mouth guards – Inexpensive, ready-to-wear mouth guards. They are sold in most sporting goods stores and even some department stores. Because they are basically a “one size fits all” design, they are uncomfortable, difficult to wear, and do not offer much real protection.
Boil and bite mouth guards – a somewhat better fit than the stock version. The mouth guard is softened by being placed in hot water, then shaped when placed in your mouth, using your finger and tongue to fit around your teeth.
Custom mouth guards – as the name implies, these mouth guards are custom designed to fit your mouth. They are made in your dentist’s office or in a dental lab under your dentist’s supervision. Because special materials and extra time and work are involved in creating them, they are the most expensive of all mouth guards. However, they provide the best fit, protection and comfort.
Talk to your NCD dentist about the best kind of mouth guard for you. Protect those pearly whites so you can smile for the winning game photo!