A mouth guard is a protective device for the mouth that covers the teeth and sometimes the gums. Mouth guards are often used to protect the teeth from injury during sports, and from teeth grinding.
When a child participates in a sporting or recreational activity, injuries can occur. A mouth guard is an important piece of protective equipment. Coaches and team members know that mouth guards help to cushion the blow that would otherwise cause injury to the teeth, lips, face, and sometimes even jaw fractures.
Another reason a child would need to wear a mouth guard is if he or she suffered from what is known as bruxism. Bruxism is the medical term for clinching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth. Most of the time, bruxism occurs while a child is sleeping or when he or she is under stress. Bruxism is common among children, but most will outgrow it. Wearing a mouth guard (night guard) can help to minimize the effects of bruxism.
There are three different types of mouth guards:
1.) Stock mouth protectors are preformed and come ready to wear. They are inexpensive and can be found at most drug stores or sporting goods stores. Not much can be done to adjust their fit, and some say they are bulky.
2.) Boil and bite mouth protectors can also be bought at most drug stores or sporting goods stores. This type of mouth guard may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. The boil and bite mouth protector is made to be placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth to be shaped around the teeth, gums and lips using tongue and finger pressure.
3.) Custom fitted mouth protectors are made in a dental laboratory to specifically fit an individual’s mouth. The first step in this process is for a dental office to take an impression of the individual’s mouth/teeth. Next a model is made, and a mouth guard is molded over the model using special material. Often times, the custom fitted mouth protector provides the most comfort and protection.
If you have any questions about mouth guards or their uses, please contact our office at 333-kids.