Sports Mouth Guards and Night Guards
Mouth guards are used to protect teeth when children play in sports and when they grind their teeth at night. Dentists make the guards from a special plastic material that is flexible, durable, odorless, tasteless and easy to clean.
Sports Mouth Guards
Children who play sports or participate in recreational activities will benefit from wearing protective mouth guards. The guards protect the soft tissues of the mouth, teeth and bone structure from injury. They can also help protect against jaw fractures and neck injuries.
A special mouth guard, called a nocturnal bite plate, bite splint or night guard, can be made by your dentist to prevent tooth damage from teeth grinding. Children who chronically grind their teeth may develop conditions that can change your child’s bite and cause pain, such as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ. When the grinding is severe, children can eventually lose their teeth. Teeth that are not properly aligned can cause teeth grinding. Your child’s dentist will be able to assess whether your child’s teeth are improperly aligned and corrective dentistry is required to realign them.
Custom-Fit Mouth Guards
Your child’s dentist will custom-fit the guard by making an impression of your child’s teeth and then molding a special material over the impression. The result will be a comfortable mouth guard that will remain securely in place, will not limit breathing, and will protect your child’s mouth and teeth from damage.
Sporting goods stores sell two types of mouth protectors, the stock and the boil and bite. Stock protectors are bulky and make breathing difficult. They offer minimal protection against injuries, and they are not recommended by dentists. The boil and bite protectors are designed to be placed in hot water and then placed over the teeth and molded. These protectors fit better than the stock protectors, but they are bulky and the child will need to bite down to keep it in place. Many children resist or refuse to wear the stock and the boil-and-bite protectors because they make verbally interacting with their teammates and others difficult.
For maximum comfort and protection, mouth guards should be custom-fitted by your child’s dentist. Although they may be a little more expensive, the benefits greatly outweigh that disadvantage.
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