Main Types of Mouth Guards to Protect Your Teeth

mouth guards

Sports account for up to 39% of all dental injuries. Sports is just one aspect of how your teeth will get injured over time. One way to combat damage to your teeth is by using a mouth guard. 

Below we will discuss the different types of mouth guards you can find on the market today. We will also explore the other benefits that mouth guards offer. 

Types of Mouth Guards

Mouth guards are coverings created to protect your teeth. For example, you can use them to protect your teeth from sports injuries or from teeth grinding. 

Below we are going to look at some of the different kinds of mouth guards you can buy.

Mouth-Formed

Mouth-formed guards have two versions. You can get either shell-liner or thermoplastic (“boil-and-bite”) mouth guards. You can find both of these versions at most drug stores, at sporting goods stores, and online. 

The shell-liner mouth guard, you place it in your mouth and allow it to form around your teeth and set. This type of mouth guard is made from silicone rubber or plastic acrylic. 

The thermoplastic mouth guard gets placed in hot water. You will keep it in the water for up to 45 seconds, or until it becomes soft and pliable. After, put it in cold water to cool it slightly.

Afterwards, you will insert the thermoplastic mouth guard into your mouth. Apply gentle pressure with your fingers, tongue, teeth, etc. to help the mouth guard set. 

Custom-Made

Custom-made (aka custom-fit) mouth guards are created to fit your specific teeth. This is why they are the best types of mouth guards you can get, and also the most expensive. These mouth guards are made in dental laboratories or offices.

The first step is to go to your dentist to get the molds done. They will use impression trays to get the form of your teeth.

These impressions will go to a dental technician. They will then design and fabricate your mouth guard. 

There is another option. You can buy a kit do it yourself. After you finish making your impressions, you will ship them off to a dental laboratory. 

Using a kit can be riskier. Your dentist will have a better idea of what they are doing and will get an accurate impression of your teeth. If you choose the kit and do a poor job, you may need to send in a second kit. 

If you choose to buy any custom-made mouth guards online, do your research. Make sure you are buying them from a reliable source. You don’t want to pay a lot of money to get a crappy product. Not only will your wallet suffer, but so will your teeth. 

Stock

Stock mouth guards are pre-formed to fit your mouth. You don’t need to wait for them to set. Stocks will be the cheapest option, but also aren’t as safe. They have limited sizes, so they may not fit your mouth well. 

You can find these at most drug stores, sporting goods stores, and online. 

Do You Need a Mouth Guard?

Not everyone needs a mouth guard, but maybe you do. There are a multitude of reasons you may need to use a mouth guard. They all revolve around eliminating injury to yourself. 

We will look at a few of the most common reasons why people use them. 

Sleep Apnea

With this condition, airflow is blocked from reaching your lungs while you sleep. This means, while you sleep, you may stop breathing for a brief period. A way to combat this is by using a mouth guard

Custom-made mouth guards can work well for this condition, if you have more mild sleep apnea. The most popular custom-made mouth guard is MAD (Mandibular advancement device). If it is more severe, you may need to use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to help you breathe. 

Using a mouth guard helps push your jaw and tongue away from the back of your throat. This will make it easier for you to breath. 

Snoring

Mouth guards help reduce the vibrations coming from the soft tissues in your throat. This in turn helps reduce the amount you snore.  

You want custom-made mouth guards, which work similarly to those used for sleep apnea. 

Sports

In regards to sports, mouth guards save you from a lot of injuries. This is especially true in heavy contact sports (e.g. hockey and football). 

The mouth guards will help keep your teeth in place, meaning you won’t be losing teeth when you are hit. They also protect your jaw, making it so there is a much lower chance of fractures or breaks happening. On top of that, they help keep your jaw from moving, preventing concussions from happening. 

These are but a few examples of how mouth guards help prevent sports injuries.  

Bruxism

Bruxism is also known as teeth grinding and clenching. It is something you do unconsciously and normally while you’re sleeping. Sometimes you can do it during the day as well. The most common reason for teeth grinding and clenching is stress. 

Custom-made mouth guards will be your best bet. They are more durable and will last longer. You can use “boil-and-bite”, but they will need to be replaced more frequently. 

By using mouth guards, not only will it halt bruxism, but all the nasty side effects that come with it. It will reduce tension headaches, tooth pain, jaw pain, insomnia, and more. 

Got Braces? That’s Ok!

If you have braces, custom-made mouth guards can work for you. If you’re grinding your teeth or playing sports, these mouth guards can still help. They will help prevent damage from happening to your teeth and your braces. 

As your teeth shift, custom-made mouth guards move with your teeth. This helps keep your teeth straight. They don’t counteract with what your braces are doing.

Let’s Get Fitted!

Now that you have reviewed different types of mouth guards, it is time to find the one that best suits your needs. There are a plethora of options, you can even get them in a variety of colors. 

Reach out to us today if you want to learn more about how mouth guards can help you.