Mouth guards are coverings worn over teeth, and often used to protect teeth from injuries sustained from teeth grinding or during sports. There are three types of mouth guards:
- Stock mouth protectors-they are ready to wear. They are bulky, make breathing and talking difficult and they provide little or no protection thus they are not recommended by dentists.
- Boil and bite mouth protectors- this mouth guard is made from thermoplastic material. It is placed in hot water to soften then placed in the mouth and placed around the teeth using fingers and the pressure of the tongue.
- Custom fitted mouth protectors- they are individually designed and made by a professional based on the dentists instructions. The dentist makes an impression of a patient’s mouth then a mouth guard is molded over the model using a special material. This provides better protection and comfort.
- Mouth guards help athletes by correcting misalignment in the jaw, thus improving two main factors: the body’s airways and the neuromuscular make up of the athlete. By aligning the jaw in its optimal position, users experience real boasts to strength, concentration, agility, flexibility, balance and other performance factors as well. Mouth guards also increase oxygen intake during physical activity. They improve oxygenation of the body as their designs open up airways. Improved delivery of oxygen to the body’s muscles increase endurance.
In general, mouth guards cover the upper teeth only, but in some instances (such as when a person wears braces or has fixed dental appliances on the lower jaw) the dentist makes a mouth guard for the lower teeth as well. An effective mouth guard should be comfortable, resist tears, be durable, easy to clean and it should not restrict speech or breathing. In case of a patient who grinds their teeth, a special mouth guard called a nocturnal bite plate or bite splint may be created to prevent tooth damage.
The following are some of the reasons that make mouth guards very important, they include:
- Having a tooth knocked down is a costly affair depending on the facial impact of the blow. Reconstructing the tooth is also very expensive especially if the oral cavity has been disfigured.
- Repeated blows in a given area have very devastating effects on the area.
- Treatment and operation for sport related injuries are more costly than professionally designed mouth guards. An injury sustained from a sport can be five times worse than a face- first slip on the floor