Mouth guard is a removable dental appliance carefully molded to fit the upper or lower teeth arches. It is used for preventing teeth from grinding during night, managing jaw dysfunctions and reducing strain of biting muscles, but mouth guard can also be used for teeth whitening, after orthodontic treatments, or even for sport activities.
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, implies unconscious clenching of teething during sleep. It is easy to recognize it once you start waking up with sore jaw, headache or tooth pain. First line of defense when grinding is obtaining mouth guard to protect teeth from further wear and tear until underlying cause is resolved. The point is – grinding is a consequence. All the problems that grinding makes will go away as soon as the underlying cause does. That’s why dentist has to look at the bigger picture, to determine what evokes it.
Teeth grinding can lead to premature loss of enamel, teeth fractures, gum recession and jaw joint disorders.
There are three types of mouthguards: stock, boiled and custom made.
Stock mouthguards are the cheapest of all. They are made in few different sizes and easily purchasable in most sports stores. Although very bulky, they cannot be adjusted and provide little protection.
Boil and bite protectors are better option than stock ones, but they also don’t fit perfectly.
Custom made mouthguards are the best solution. They are made at the office, specifically for each patient, providing the best fit with most comfort and protection. Procedure is fairly quick and easy, all it takes is an impression of teeth and mouth guard can be modeled over the model made from that impression.
Taking care of mouth guard is not a big deal, very similar to dentures. It needs to be cleaned with toothbrush and a toothpaste or soap, and kept in perforated container which allows air to circulate.
Mouth guard should be considered a viable solution for conserving teeth and jaw joint from unnecessary wear and tear.