A custom-fitted mouth guard is an appliance worn over the teeth, usually to protect them from damage. There are several different kinds of mouth guards, each custom-fabricated to fit perfectly a particular patient’s mouth and bite.
How the Mouth Guard Works
Protective mouth guards serve as a buffer to prevent damage to teeth from extreme physical activity or excessive grinding. The resilient material acts as a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, as well as between the teeth and the soft tissues of the mouth.
Our dentists create mouth guards by making an exact impression of a patient’s teeth, using a casting material. A dental laboratory technician then uses the impression as a mold to make a mouth guard that fits precisely.
Athletic Mouth Guards
The most common use for a mouth guard is to protect the teeth during sports. This protective measure is necessary whenever there’s a chance of hard contact between players or with firm surfaces. Many sports organizations officially require mouth guards to protect players from chipped or broken teeth, root or bone damage, tooth loss, or occasionally more serious injuries, such as fractured jaws.
For patients diagnosed with “bruxism,” the habit of grinding or clenching the teeth, a night guard can be an effective way to ease nighttime grinding. Many people unknowingly grind their teeth at night. This can cause extensive tooth damage, headaches, and jaw pain. A night guard relieves the pressure from grinding and clenching and protects against wear, cracks, and fractures of the teeth.
Snoring Prevention Aids
This type of mouth guard has proven effective for many patients who suffer from snoring or sleep apnea. Snoring prevention aids work by bringing the lower jaw forward and lifting the soft palate. The process prevents soft throat tissues from collapsing and obstructing the airway.