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Protect Your Teeth from Injury: Mouth Guard Uses

By William Stofer on October 22, 2014


Close-up of a woman smiling while holding a mouth guardCertain activities, like contact sports and teeth grinding, can leave the teeth vulnerable to damage. You can help maintain a healthy smile and protect your teeth from injury with the use of a mouth guard. If you have already experienced dental injury, there are many restorative and general dentistry treatments available to repair damage. To find out if mouth guards are right for your needs, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Warsaw dentists Bill Stofer and Jason Hemphill. In the meantime, read on to learn more about mouth guards and their uses.

Types of Mouth Guards and Their Uses

Though there are different types of mouth guards, they all share the same goal: to protect your teeth from injury and damage. When worn during sports, mouth guards can help keep the teeth safe from chipping, breaking, or being knocked out. Besides sports related injuries, mouth guards can also be worn to protect the teeth from the damage caused by chronic teeth grinding and even alleviate temporomandibular joint disorder, TMD, symptoms. The type of mouth guard used depends on the needs of the patient and are as follows:

  • Stock mouth guards: Stock mouth guards are purchased from sporting goods retailers and are intended for use during sporting activities. Some find stock mouth guards uncomfortable since they are not customizable.
  • Boil and bite mouth guards: Boil and bite mouth guards are slightly customizable, allowing them to offer more comfort and better protection than stock mouth guards. As the name suggests, boil and bite mouth guards can be adjusted to the individual by boiling the mouth guard, softening the plastic, and then biting down to mold the tray to the teeth. Boil and bite mouth guards are typically best suited for wear during sports. 
  • Custom-made mouth guards: Custom-made mouth guards offer the most protection and comfort because they are made in a dental lab from impressions taken of the patient's teeth. Custom-made mouth guards are best suited for alleviating TMD symptoms or protecting the teeth of those who suffer from teeth grinding.

Candidates for Mouth Guards

Mouth guards are worn to protect the teeth from damage, whether sports injury or teeth grinding cause damage. Those who regularly grind their teeth or play contact sports should consider wearing mouth guards. Mouth guard candidates include:

  • Chronic teeth grinders: Long term teeth grinding is harmful to the teeth. Untreated teeth grinding can lead to wearing away of the dental enamel, fractures within the teeth, and even wearing the teeth down to stubs. Custom-made mouth guards can provide a barrier between the teeth to prevent the damage caused by teeth grinding.
  • TMD sufferers: TMD symptoms like jaw pain, constant dull headaches, and neck tension, can often be alleviated with custom-made mouth guards. For those who suffer from TMD, mouth guards are generally worn while sleeping to prevent the mouth from clenching shut. This helps reduce jaw joint tension and reduce TMD symptoms.
  • Athletes: Those who play contact sports, like football or boxing, are vulnerable to dental injury. Mouth guards should be worn during play to reduce the risk of dental damage. Other athletes who should consider wearing mouth guards include those who skateboard or mountain bike. 

Schedule a Consultation

To find out more about mouth guards or other treatments, schedule a consultation today!

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