Custom-fitted mouth protectors are individually designed and made in a dental office or a professional laboratory based on your dentist’s instructions. First, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and a mouth guard is then molded over the model using a special material. Due to the use of the special material and because of the extra time and work involved, this custom-made mouth guard is more expensive than the other types, but it provides the most comfort and protection. Generally, mouth guards cover your upper teeth only, but in some instances (such as if you wear braces or another fixed dental appliance on your lower jaw), your dentist will make a mouth guard for the lower teeth as well. An effective mouth guard should be comfortable, resist tears, be durable and easy to clean, and should not restrict your breathing or speech.
WHO NEEDS A MOUTH GUARD?
Mouth guards should be used by anyone both children and adults who play contact sports such as rugby, boxing, soccer, hockey ect. However, even those participating in noncontact sports (for example, gymnastics) and any recreational activity (for example, skateboarding, mountain biking) that might pose a risk of injury to the mouth would benefit from wearing a protective mouth guard.
WHY USE A MOUTH GUARD WHEN PLAYING SPORTS?
Because accidents can happen during any physical activity, the advantage of using a mouth guard during sports is that it can help limit the risk of mouth-related injuries to your lips, tongue, and soft tissues of your mouth. Mouth guards also help you avoid chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth, or even tooth loss.
HOW DO I CARE FOR MY MOUTH GUARD?
To care for your mouth guard:
• Rinse your mouth guard with cold water or with a mouth rinse before and after each use and/or clean it with toothpaste and a toothbrush.
• Occasionally clean the mouth guard in cool, soapy water and rinse it thoroughly.
• Place the mouth guard in a firm, perforated container to store or transport it. This permits air circulation and helps to prevent damage.
• Protect the mouth guard from high temperatures such as hot water, hot surfaces, or direct sunlight to minimize distorting its shape.
• Occasionally check the mouth guard for general wear. If you find holes or tears in it or if it becomes loose or causes discomfort, replace it.
• Bring the mouth guard to each regularly scheduled dental visit to have your dentist exam it.