You may be wondering why your coach or dentist has recommended a mouthguard if you or your child is involved in sports or activities. A mouthguard does just what the name says.
mouthguards protect the mouth by providing a soft but sturdy covering over the teeth. This can save the teeth, tongue, cheeks, face and lips from injury during impact or intense activities by providing extra cushion.
Mouthguards can range in price from a few dollars for a simple one from a local retailer to over a hundred dollars for a custom-fitted one. Custom fitted mouthguards are often worth the investment because they’re fitted to your teeth, preventing pinching or injury to your sensitive mouth tissues, and they protect your teeth more effectively. Comfortable mouthguards are also more likely to be worn.
A generic fit mouthguard has instructions for fitting on the package. Some will include a storage case.
A custom made mouthguard should only be purchased from a dentist. Typically, this takes two visits. A dentist or dental staff will take impressions, or a mold, of your teeth. Then they make a model of your teeth (sometimes they will even let you take it home once they are done). Now comes the fun part of the appointment! Picking a color or design. Sometimes entire sports teams have matching mouthguards to represent school or team colors. You can also select individual colors or fancy designs. Normally the office has samples of the colors and designs right in the office. Some mouthguards even have glow in the dark or glitter options. Who knew protecting your mouth could be so fun?
At this point the actual mouthguard is either made at the office or in a dental lab. Your next visit will be to deliver your mouthguard to you. The dental staff will insure a proper fit, making sure the guard is resting correcting in your mouth, comfortable, and not pinching any tissues like your cheeks or gums. They should also include care instructions and a storage case. Follow your care instructions well to avoid a bad smelling mouthguard or damage to your mouthguard from lack of proper cleaning and storage.
Care of your mouthguard
Care of your new mouthguard whether custom made or store bought should include regular cleaning. When removing it, some care instructions suggest giving it a good rinse, but most dentists now recommend brushing it with your toothbrush and then rinsing it with soapy water. You can also give it a soak in denture cleaner to keep it from starting to smell. Storage of the mouthguard should always be in a designated case. A good rule of thumb for the best way to keep track of your mouthguard is that if it be in your case or in your face.
A decent mouthguard won’t set you back a lot of money and protects your teeth from both immediate damage and damage that might not show up for years down the road. It’s worth protecting your teeth now to save you from years of costly and painful dental repairs later.