Mouth guards

A mouth guard is tailor made to you. It provides a protective cover which fits exactly over your teeth and gums to cushion and protect your teeth, gums and jaw from damage.

Why would I need a mouth guard?

It is advisable to wear a professionally made mouth guard if you play sports such as rugby, cricket, hockey and football. Impact to the face, either from a ball or another player, can cause shock waves to travel through your jaw leading to bone damage, or a direct hit can shatter or chip a tooth. In fact dental injuries are a common occurrence in these kinds of sports. A mouth guard will not help prevent chipping or breaking teeth as a result of impact, it will act as a shock absorber to help protect against a painful broken or dislocated jaw.

Mouth guards can also be custom made to wear at night if you are susceptible to clenching or grinding your teeth (bruxism). A mouth guard will not cure your bruxism, but if you have come to your Hughes & Owen Dental Care dentist for guidance and advice on teeth grinding, they may offer a mouth guard as a method to provide relief from the pressure and the sound while you explore the causes. The application of a mouth guard will even out the pressure across your jaw as well as provide a barrier between your bottom and top teeth. The soft material means that it reduces wear on your teeth and also helps to diminish the grinding sound.

You may also require a mouth guard for some teeth whitening treatments.

The making of a mouth guard

Your Hughes & Owen Dental Care orthodontist will make your mouth guard to fit the exact shape of your jaw, ensuring that it stays in place comfortably, provides maximum protection and lasts for as long as possible.

Your local Burton-On-Trent dentist will take an impression of your teeth from which to make the finished guard. This first impression is used to make a complete plaster cast model of your jaw, gums and teeth that the dental laboratory technicians will use. They shape the mouth guard material around the model to create a part that fits snugly over either your upper or lower teeth. The expert technicians will use the model to make sure that the bite is as comfortable as possible, and make small adjustments until the mouth guard is at a stage ready to be delivered to back to Hughes & Owen Dental Care where you can pick it up. Your mouth guard will come with care instructions and a container to protect it when you are not wearing it.    

Maintaining you mouth guard

  • Scrub your mouth guard after every use with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Keep it in its protective case when you are not wearing it.
  • Mouth guards are plastic, so keep it out of very hot water and the sun – these will cause it to melt and deform.
  • Make sure you regularly replace your mouth guard, not only for good hygiene but also to update it as your teeth naturally change and move.

A strong, durable mouth guard could last you years but, of course, the lifetime of your mouth guard depends on how well you care for it, and whether it takes any blows from your sporting activities. On average a mouth guard will last around six months to a year. If your teeth are still moving or coming through, then it is important to get your mouth guard replaced more regularly to ensure that it fits correctly.  

Can I buy a mouth guard off the shelf?

You can buy pre-formed mouth guards from some sports shops. These kind of mouth guards are made to mould at home (known as a boil-and-bite). It comes in a shape that will fit any jaw to firstly be boiled at home. While the guard is still hot, you place it over your teeth and shape it to your jaw. These are less accurate than a mouth guard provided by an orthodontist and can therefore be uncomfortable and awkwardly fitted. You may find them more brittle and liable to damage due to the heating and cooling process. To best protect your teeth, it is advisable to speak to your dentist about your options. 

To get a custom made mouth guard contact your Hughes & Owen Dental Care dentist on 01283 568817 (Burton-on-Trent) or 01283 217794 (Swadlincote) to make an appointment.

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