A mouthguard is a rubber or silicon-made appliance that a person wears for protection. A dentist may prescribe it to the upper or lower arch for various reasons:
- Night grinding. The most common use a mouthguard is as a nightguard. When a patient is a known bruxer he or she has involuntary clenching and night grinding that is usually observed during sleep, hence the name. To date, there is no permanent cure for night grinding. The only resolve a dentist can offer is to protect the teeth from destruction, through abrasion.
- Sports. A person engaged in sports or a similar physical activity will be prone to contact that will cause fractures. To somehow avoid any injury in the tooth or bone, some cushion may be afforded by the wearing of a sportsgaurd, which is a lot thicker than a night guard because it is expected to endure stronger blows.
Choosing the Right Guard
If you are prescribed with a guard, you will need it, regardless of the reason because it will sufficiently protect your teeth. Unfortunately, you may be swayed into getting the ready-made guards or the boil-and-bite ones from sports stores, but you have to understand that it’s going to be a wrong decision.
A ready-made or boil-and-bite product is not going to be a perfect fit, unlike the custom-made guards the dentist fabricates. When a dentist fabricates a guard, he uses a cast/model made from taking a mould of your teeth and jaw. Now, using this cast/model, the guards are fabricated using a vacuum former. This means that the finished product is a suction-fit guard that:
- Is going to fit perfectly. Since it is fabricated using a cast/model taken from the patient, you can take comfort that the guard will be an exact fit. It will be fabricated following the exact curvatures and dips of the upper or lower jaw, so it is snug fit. It will fit just one person, you, and because the fit is perfect you do no have to worry that it is just going to fall off or pop out from your mouth.
- Is more comfortable. Since it fits well, you can expect that it will be easy-to-wear. Ready-made products often hurt as they do not fit like a glove, but you do not have to worry about that with a custom-made guard.
- Is not going to cause bite problems. Since it fits well, you do not have to worry about developing any bite problems. An ill-fitting guard will cause a discrepancy in the bite so that there will be shift in the teeth. These changes will affect the teeth and bite, so straining the joints.
Of course, one more thing you can be sure of with a custom-made guard is that it is dentist-approved. You know you are wearing an appliance that your dentist will approve of, so you have nothing to worry about.