A mouth guard is a prosthesis worn over the teeth to protect them from injury.
Mouth guards can be stock mouth guards, mouth-formed or custom-made.
The mouth-formed ones (also known as boil and bite) are self-adapting. They soften when placed in hot water, they are cooled and adapted to the user’s mouth using the user’s bite and manipulation with the hands and fingers. These mouth-formed ones can be used at home or by a dentist.
The custom-made ones are fabricated at the dental clinic and made specially for you using measurements of your mouth taken with an impression. These ones are the most recommended.
WHO NEEDS A MOUTH GUARD?
Mouth guards are useful in a number of situations:
- Teeth-grinding habit: They are useful to prevent damage if a person has a habit of grinding their teeth especially during sleep
- Sporting activities: They are very useful for boxers and athletics in order to prevent damage to teeth
- Acute temporomandibular joint disorders: The temporomandibular joint is the joint between the upper and lower jaws. Disorders in this joint may be as a result of teeth grinding or teeth wear.
- Tooth splints: Mouth guards may be used to splint mobile teeth, as part of periodontal treatment
- While receiving orthodontic treatments, mouth guards may be useful for a person whose upper teeth are too forward. When the upper teeth are too forward, they are prone to injury.
WHAT TO EXPECT (CUSTOM-MADE MOUTHGUARDS)
Your dentist will introduce himself to you and examine your mouth.
He will explain the need of a mouth guard to you and with your consent, he will go ahead to fabricate one for you.
He will take a measurement of your mouth using alginate material to make an impression of your mouth.
The impression will be sent to the laboratory where it will be used to make a model of your mouth. The model is an accurate replica of your mouth and the mouth guard will be fabricated on it.
These mouth guards are usually fabricated in acrylic.
- Inform your dentist if any complaint you may have
- Book your next appointment before you leave the clinic
- Care for your mouth guard by cleaning it with clean cold water, mild soap and a soft toothbrush
- If your mouth guard is in acrylic, always store it in clean room-temperature water. If not, store in a strong clean container with vents to keep it dry.
- Don’t leave your mouth guards in the sun or hot water
- Practise good oral hygiene. Keep your mouth guard clean. Ask your dentist to teach you how
- Yes, you can. This may be particularly useful if you play sports.
- Your dentist can help you find the most suitable option.
No, they don’t.
See your dentist regularly to assess your mouth guards for signs of wear and for replacements.