What Are Mouthguards
Mouthguards are devices that you wear on your mouth, completely covering your teeth and gums, as a protection against injuries to the teeth, mouth, cheeks, and jaw. Mouthguards are mainly used as a protective device when playing contact sports, however, it can also be used in managing symptoms of bruxism or in treating sleep apnea.
Types of Mouthguards
There are different types of mouthguards depending on your needs. Below are the three main types of mouthguards and when to use them.
- Stock mouthguards
Stock mouthguards or stock mouth protectors are the most common type of mouthguard. These are ready to wear since they are pre-formed. It is also the most affordable type of mouth protector and can be purchased at many sporting goods stores and pharmacies. Stock mouthguards come in three different sizes: small, medium, and large, which can be considered very limited when it comes to mouth protectors. With this, individuals using stock mouthguards may experience discomfort especially when talking and breathing while using it.
- Boil-and-bite mouthguards
Another common type of mouthguard is the boil-and-bite mouthguard. As the name implies, you will need to boil the mouthguard in order to adjust its size to make it fit your teeth. You can also find it in most drugstores and comes with an instruction on how to properly customize its size. A boil-and-bite mouthguard is a better option to use when playing contact sports since it fits better.
- Custom-made mouthguards
Custom-made mouthguards are the best type of mouthguards and the most expensive too. It is made by your dentist specifically intended for your size only. With this, it would be more comfortable wearing it and won’t easily dislodge when playing sports or when sleeping. It is also the recommended type of mouthguard in treating medical conditions such as TMJ, sleep apnea, and snoring.
Can you wear mouthguards while wearing braces?
Yes. In fact, it is crucial to wear a mouth protector when playing sports or when sleeping and you are diagnosed with TMJ and sleep apnea. In this case, a custom-made mouthguard is recommended to use. Visit your dentist if you are wearing braces and you plan to play contact sports or have sleep and teeth grinding conditions.
Mouthguard Care Tips
Generally, you will need to change or replace your mouthguard if it is already showing signs of wear and tear. Your dentist will examine it during your dental checkup. In order to extend the life of your mouthguard, it is important to take good care of it and maintain it properly. Below are the tips on how to care for your mouthguard.
- Clean it with mild soap and toothbrush regularly. Make sure to rinse it with cold water or mouthwash before and after using it.
- Keep your mouthguard away from high temperatures to avoid damage. Remember, the materials used in a mouthguard are sensitive to heat.
- Put it in a clean and perforated container that allows proper air circulation to prevent damage and mold growth.