Mouthguards and Night Guards
Mouthguards and night guards are plastic devices worn over your teeth to prevent damage sustained by grinding and clenching teeth during sleep, or for athletes to protect teeth from blows to the face and head. The guard covers either the top or bottom set of teeth and cushions them from trauma. Untreated grinding also called “bruxism” can erode your enamel, leading to heightened vulnerability and tooth sensitivity. Contact sports, as well as sports that involve falls or flying equipment, present some risk of injury to the mouth and a guard should be worn to protect your smile.
Is a Night Guard Right for You?
Many people clench their jaws or grind their teeth while they sleep without ever realizing it themselves. If you are experiencing any of the following, you may be unknowingly grinding your teeth:
Often, a partner will be the first to notice bruxism while you’re fast asleep. They may be disturbed or even woken up by the sound. While some clenching and grinding can happen during the day, chronic grinding usually happens at night when we’re none the wiser. In other cases, we at Weekend Dentistry may be the first to notice signs of bruxism during your regular dental exam. Clenching and grinding your teeth can damage the enamel on your teeth, and lead to wear or even cracks. If we detect these signs and symptoms, we’ll recommend a custom night guard to protect your smile.
Mouthguards for Athletes
Mouthguards are also an essential piece of equipment for athletes involved in any sport or activity that might result in an injury to the mouth. Mouthguards are recommended for contact sports like football, hockey, and soccer, as well as sports that might involve a fall like gymnastics, mountain biking, or skateboarding. Similar to night guards, mouthguards for athletes are a plastic device which resembles a retainer that protects your teeth from unnecessary trauma.
Getting Your Mouth or Night Guard
While there are some over the counter mouthguards available, these tend to be bulky, ill-fitting and may obstruct breathing. Stock mouthguards or “boil and bite” options found at pharmacies and sporting goods stores are relatively inexpensive but typically aren’t comfortable for sleep or competition. We recommend scheduling an appointment at our San Antonio, TX location to meet with S. Ben Kim, MS, DDS, PLLC and get fitted for a custom mouth or night guard. We’ll make an impression of your teeth and construct your customized mouthguard from a model of your natural teeth. This creates a mouthguard specific to and perfect for you—it will fit and feel better whether you need the guard to help you get a good night’s rest or bring home the gold.
The best biteguard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist. However, if you can't afford a custom-fitted one, you should still wear a stock biteguard or a boil-and-bite kind from the drugstore. Give us a call at (210) 783-0944 to learn more about your options.