If you’re an athlete or have a habit of grinding your teeth, mouth guards are essential to reduce tooth wear and protect the soft tissues of your lips, tongue and cheeks. While mouth guards are designed to fit over your teeth, they are not all created equal.
Mouth Guards for Sports
Whether you’re a gymnast, football or basketball player, all athletic activities come with injury risks to the teeth and mouth. Although sporting goods stores carry pre-formed, ready-to-wear models, the fit is never exact and they can slide around.
Oftentimes, the durability of pre-formed mouth guards is subpar. After several practices and games, an athlete who bites down or grinds the plastic between his or her teeth will eventually puncture the material – it’ll be lucky if the mouth guard lasts the whole season!
Created by a dentist, custom mouth guards eliminate many of these downsides. For one, the mouth guard is created to fit your mouth perfectly, including around braces or other dental work you may have. As such, they’re less likely to slide out, feel more comfortable and ensure you can coherently talk to others during the game.
Another added benefit, custom mouth guards are constructed of thermoplastic material that lasts far longer than the thin polymer pre-made models. As such, the model holds up through regular biting, clenching and grinding, without breaking apart or showing marks.
Dentists also take into account the student athlete who’s still growing. Once your budding pro finds the current mouth guard too small, one of our dentists can create a new set that precisely fits his or her new teeth and mouth size.
Creating a Custom Mouth Guard
On a basic level, a mouth guard needs to cover your upper mouth. However, if you have braces or other dental work on the bottom half, your dentist will create a mouth guard for the lower teeth. If your mouth guard is needed for teeth grinding, it may be specifically designed to prevent tooth damage.
To start, your dentist takes an impression of your teeth that’s so exact, no adjustments are needed. The thickness depends on your existing level of grinding and teeth clenching.
After the impression is taken:
- Your dentist sends it to the lab for the custom mouth guard to be crafted out of thermoplastic. This process takes roughly about a week.
- Your dentist schedules an appointment to make sure it fits well. At this stage, minor adjustments may be made to ensure a smooth, comfortable fit.
- You’ll be provided a protective case for storing the mouth guard when it’s not in use.
- Your dentist will provide care tips, including washing and brushing the mouth guard after use and how to thoroughly clean and store it.
As the athletic season begins, turn to Smile Dental Center to get a comfortable, well-fitting mouth guard that lasts for many seasons to come.
Are you experiencing dental pain following an athletic injury? Don’t wait. We see emergencies same day!