Teeth guards, also known as night guards, are defined as covering that are worn over a collection of teeth and often utilized to protect from grinding and injury. Three types of guards exist, and they include the below:
- Stock Mouth Protectors
These devices are ready to wear out of the box, given that they are pre-formed. They are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at the majority of department stores and sporting goods outlets. Yet, the consumer has next to no control to adjust their fit, and their bulky size makes talking and breathing difficult, often at the expense of little protection. Most of the time, they are not recommended for use by dentists.
- Bite and Boil Mouth Protectors
Able to be purchased at many stores in a similar fashion to stock mouth protectors, though they tend to serve a better fit. These devices are composed of thermoplastic material, as they are softened in hot water then placed in the mouth to shape around the teeth with the aid of mild pressure from the tongue and fingers.
- Custom-fitted protectors
Customized mouth guards are individually crafted in a professional laboratory or dedicated dental office in accordance with specific instructions. Initially, an impression of the patient's teeth is made and then a mouth guard is mold over the model with the help of special material.
Given the additional work and time involved along with the implementation of the special material, custom-fitted protectors are typically more expensive but provide the best protection and highest degree of comfort.
In general, mouth guards tend to cover only the upper portion of teeth where the tongue is not involved, but some people prefer to use a night guard for the lower portion of their teeth. Regardless, both upper and lower teeth guards provide a good protection to all teeth. An effective guard should resist tears, be easy to clean, highly durable, highly comfortable, and not restrict speech or breathing.
Who Should Be Wearing Teeth Guards?
Guards can be worn by practically anyone, from children to adults. Even those who participate in any kind of recreational activity that poses a risk of injury to the area of the mouth would serve to benefit from wearing a protective guard. So, if you find yourself grinding or clenching teeth at night, there are night guards designed to prevent tooth damage.
Even if you wear braces, you're still eligible to wear a mouth guard. Injury to the face could damage fixed appliances like braces, and a properly formed mouth guard can be especially important for those that have already had work done on their teeth. A perfectly made custom guard will provide the highest amount of protection.
How Should I Take Care of My Teeth Guard?
To take care of your dental guard:
- Rinse the device with cold water or in your mouth the same way before and after use. You can also clean it with a toothbrush and soap.
- Keep the guard in a perforated, firm container to transport or store it. This allows for the circulation of air and prevents unwanted damage. If the guard is made of acrylic material, keep it suspended in fresh, clean water.