Dental Mouthguards in Arlington, VA
Dental mouthguards are specific dental devices that are worn over the top of the teeth to help protect them from damage during activity, or because of bruxism (grinding your teeth). There are a few different types of mouthguards, and while it can be tempting to purchase something over the counter, there are some considerations to be made.
Types of Mouthguards
There are three basic types of mouthguards that patients use.
Stock Mouth Protectors – This type of guard is typically purchased over the counter and offers the least personalized fit. This mouthguard is generally the cheapest of all of the options, but also tends to feel bulky, and can make talking or breathing more difficult. They also tend to offer lower levels of protection. Part of this can stem from an improper fit or that they just are not designed for your specific needs. Typically, dentists do not recommend these for any of their patients.
Boil and Bite Mouthguards – These mouthguards are often placed right next to the stock mouth protectors, and for a few dollars, or sometimes just a few pennies more, they offer a much better fit. They are made of a special plastic material that softens in hot water. These mouthguards come as stock size, but then are placed in hot water, and then molded to your teeth. This fit is achieved simply by pressing the guard against your teeth with your fingers and tongue.
Custom Fitted Mouthguards – These mouthguards offer the best fit and protection of all three types. These are custom made and fitted mouthguards to fit your mouth and your needs. An impression is made of your teeth and is then sent to a lab so that your custom device can be created. These mouthguards fit securely and have the least effect on your ability to breathe and speak properly. If your dentist feels that your activity or teeth concerns warrant a mouthguard, they may want to have you fitted for the best protection.
Typically, mouthguards are only created for the upper teeth. However, some patients who are involved in impact sports or those that wear braces may have a need for the upper and lower teeth to be protected. In these cases, custom-fitted mouthguards are the best option because they are not too bulky. This allows you to wear both at the same time without pushing your jaw out of alignment or blocking your airway.
Who Should Consider a Mouthguard?
There are many people who know that they need a mouthguard right away. People who are involved in high impact sports like football, soccer, rugby, lacrosse, hockey, and boxing are certainly ideal candidates.
Additionally, there are many other sports that could benefit from mouthguards like gymnastics or skateboarding. Other than athletes, if you notice that your teeth are suffering from grinding wear, talk to our professional staff about the possibility of mouthguards to help protect your teeth.
It is also important to observe your children see if they are grinding their teeth while they sleep too. Mouthguards are one potential avenue to help protect their teeth and jaws from damage.
Care for Your Mouthguard
Mouthguards are generally simple to take care of, but if they are not properly cleaned, they can harbor harmful bacteria or infections. Before and after each use, you should rinse and clean them with soapy water and use a toothbrush to scrub them gently.
While you are transporting mouthguards, they should be stored in a rigid perforated container that allows them to dry without being damaged properly. Finally, make sure to bring your mouthguards to each dental appointment so we can inspect them for any potential wear or damage.
If you are considering mouthguards, contact the friendly staff at Courthouse Art of Dentistry today. We can help you find the right fit for your life.