• Mouthguards: What You Need to Know

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    July 25th, 2010adminarticles

    Are you the athletic type of person? If yes, chances are, you’ve already worn a mouthguard (also called a mouth piece) in an occasion or two. Mouthguards are dental equipment that basically do the job of protecting teeth from being chipped, dislocated and pulled out. By wearing mouthguards, we can be rest assured of 90% protection from any tooth injury when playing contact sports.

    Mouthguards are also worn by patients who suffer from bruxism (involuntary and relentless grinding of the teeth) and TMJ disorders. These specialized mouth guards are custom-made by a dental technician. People suffering from extreme bruxism are thoroughly advised not to wear over-the-counter mouth guards or they may suffer far more detrimental complications on their teeth. These specialized mouthguards are also only worn when one is sleeping, as self-restraint during the day is the best practice that is advised by dentists.

    There are basically three types of mouth guards:

    1.) Ready-made mouthguards are the most common mouthguards sold in the market because of their low prices. They are typically disposable and aren’t really advised by dentists because of their non-custom fit and their inability to protect the back teeth. They are available in small, medium and large sizes. Wearing these mouthpieces may hinder one’s ability to speak naturally or to even speak audibly at all. These are not safe to wear when playing contact sports because they don’t give the much-needed protection by the teeth. These mouthpieces cannot be worn by people who have protruding teeth.

    Stock mouthguards are sold for about $1 to $15.

    2.) Boil-and-bite mouthguards are available at sporting goods stores and various drugs stores. By first boiling the mouthguards, then biting onto them once they are softened, the mouth pieces adapt to the shape and contour of the mouth, giving the user a more precise bite and better protection from any further damage that may be caused by an irregular bite.

    Boil-and-bite mouthguards cost about $1 to $40, depending on the brand that manufactures them.

    3.) Custom mouthguards are preferred by both amateur and professional athletes, as well as dentists, because of the maximum level of protection these dental devices give and their seemingly perfect fit to any person’s teeth. Getting a dental impression with custom mouthguards is basically just the same as getting impressions for dentures. By biting on the putty-like substance, the impressions are sent to a professional dental technician for the plaster cast to be built, which will be the basis for the custom mouthguard.

    Custom mouthguards are pricier than other mouthpieces. The fair price for these ranges from $100 to $300. Custom mouthguards made from other special material often cost more than $1,000. These “special” custom mouthpieces are used by people who compete in extreme sports, like wrestling, Muay Thai and mixed martial arts.

    Before you get your mouthguard, the dental technician will send your dentist a plaster cast that you will have to try out before the final product gets sent. If you feel any minor discomfort wearing the cast, it’s very important to tell your dentist about it to make the necessary adjustments on the final product.

    When a mouthguard is worn, there also must be proper care attributed to owning it, especially if it is custom-made. Mouthguards should be cleaned and scrubbed with a toothbrush and then rinsed with cold water. A mouthguard usually comes with a perforated case so it’s imperative for one not to lose the container. Also, one should always take care of the mouthguard whenever wearing it; any abuse given to the mouthguard, like chewing and taking it on and off your mouth can rip or pierce the material. Do not imitate the athletes you see on TV who play with their mouthpieces, since they have lots of money to buy new ones and they probably have spares lying around.

    Funnily enough, some people sleep with their mouthguards on and forget that these delicate equipment should only be worn during practice sessions and competitions to avoid loosening. Custom-made mouthguards usually have a lifespan of two years, so it’s imperative to make the most out of that usage time.

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