A mouthguard from a dentist (versus the ones you would buy in a store) offers a custom fit, greater protection, and better results. Custom mouthguards are one of the dental services Dr. Scott Finlay provides to patients of all ages. There are several types of mouthguards we offer in our Annapolis dental office. Nightguards help prevent tooth grinding. Snore guards improve snoring and sleep apnea. The most popular mouthguards we make are for contact sports. A custom mouthguard is made to fit specifically over your teeth and gums.
Type of Mouthguards at Annapolis Smiles
- Night Guards – We may prescribe a custom night guard for our patients who grind their teeth or clench their jaw while they sleep. Many people may not even know they do these things in their sleep until a dental exam or symptoms appear. A dentist may notice that your teeth are worn down, an obvious sign you are grinding your teeth while you sleep. You may also wake up with headaches or a sore jaw. This is a sure sign that you are clenching your jaw while you sleep. A custom night guard can help you find relief if you suffer from these issues.
- Snore Guards – Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans. Snoring is the number one symptom. If you suffer from snoring or other sleep apnea symptoms, you may want to visit Dr. Finlay for a custom snore guard. This oral device prevents your tongue and jaw from slipping while you sleep, which can block your air passage. It will help keep your lower jaw in a comfortable, forward position while you sleep, helping to prevent snoring.
- Custom Sports Mouthguards – For many sports, mouthguards are mandatory. They are designed to protect the teeth in the event of a collision or other traumatic force. Since the mid-1990s, the American Dental Association has endorsed using sports mouthguards for those who participate in contact sports. Over-the-counter mouthguards are often sufficient, but they aren’t always comfortable. A mouthguard that isn’t comfortable, not worn properly, or not worn at all are ineffective. With a custom-fitted mouthguard, it has been proven to reduce the risk of dental injuries.
Benefits of Custom Mouthguard
- A comfortable fit: they are made from impressions of your teeth
- Maximum available protection: the secure fit ensures the best possible protection of teeth and gums and may reduce the forces of impact that can cause a concussion
- Better compliance: with the ability to drink fluids while wearing them, users are more likely to keep a comfortable mouthguard in place
- Oral appliance protection: a custom fit mouthguard can be made to accommodate braces and other oral appliances to avoid breakage and damage to the gums
Fitting for a custom mouthguard is quick, painless, and can be completed during a routine preventive care visit to our Arnold dentist office. The dentist will take an impression of your teeth to get the closest possible fit. A plaster model is made and sent to a dental lab where your custom mouthguard is made. Once complete, we will contact you for pick up.
Sports Mouthguards Vs. Nightguards
If you already have a mouthguard for one of these purposes, it’s tempting to try using it for all your needs. However, you should never use your guard for anything other than its express purpose. Sports mouthguards are made of a light, bulky material. Their main purpose is to absorb shocks from a hit or a blow during sports. If you tried to wear it at night for teeth grinding, your teeth would go right through it shortly. It would render the guard unusable and damage your teeth.
Nightguards are made of thin, hard material. They keep the surfaces of your teeth from coming together when you’re grinding them. Without a guard, your teeth wear down faster and are more prone to chipping or breaking. It doesn’t offer much protection if you try to wear this type of guard while playing sports. It wouldn’t be much better than playing without a guard at all.
Caring for Your Custom Mouthguard
Your mouthguard can only protect your teeth if you care for it properly. Each time you use your mouthguard, rinse it out with cool water. It gets rid of any debris and bacteria that’s built up on it. At least once a day, gently scrub the mouthguard with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Toothpastes with abrasive products like activated charcoal can damage your mouthguard.
At least once a week, deep clean the mouthguard. Soak your mouthguard with water and an antibacterial mouthwash or with denture cleaner. This sanitizes the mouthguard and gets rid of any bacteria, odor, and any built up residue that’s accumulated throughout the week. You should also ensure that your smile is clean before you put your mothguard in.
When you’re not wearing it, you must store it properly to discourage bacteria buildup. Bacteria love a warm, wet environment, so the mouthguard needs to be in a ventilated area. Dry it before you store it to avoid bacteria and mold growth. Keep it in a ventilated case or box. This also ensures that you don’t lose or damage the mouthguard accidentally. You’ll always know where it’s at.
Always keep an eye on your mouthguard. You know it the best. If you see any signs of damage, wear, or tear, let us know immediately. You shouldn’t use a mouthguard in these conditions, as it can endanger your teeth. Excessive heat and cold are problematic for the mouthguard. They warp the material and compromise the integrity of your guard. Never leave your guard out in the sun or in a hot or cold car.
Lastly, you should never share your mouthguard with anyone. Not only can it transfer germs and something like a cold, but more serious conditions can be shared through the saliva or blood. Your guard is custom-fit to you, and you only. It won’t work as well for anyone else. If other people wear it, it can change the fit and shape of the guard.
Custom Mouthguard FAQs
Custom mouthguards can protect your teeth in a variety of situations. Learn more by reading the answers to these commonly asked questions.
How often should I get a new custom mouthguard?
We recommend getting a new mouthguard before every sports season. Young athletes outgrow their mouthguards every year, so it is imperative that they get new ones before every sports season for complete comfort and the best protection possible. You risk tooth damage and distractions from an ill-fitting mouthguard.
Can nightguards ruin your teeth?
No. Nightguards are a specific prosthetic that does not harm your teeth when holding them in place, so you don’t snore or grind them at night. They are durable enough to work their magic but made from safe materials that won’t cause gum irritation or tooth damage. If you have a nightguard that causes you tooth pain or other issues, it’s time to replace it. All types of mouthguards are not permanent and need to be replaced periodically.
Can nightguards and snore guards change my bite?
Yes, there is a possibility that a bad-fitting night guard, snore guard, and mouthguard can shift your tooth position and change your jaw alignment. This only happens when you wear an old prosthesis your mouth has outgrown. Do not wear a nightguard, snore guard, or mouthguard that no longer fits. It is very important for your long-term dental health to replace your guard yearly for maximum protection. Also, follow all care instructions, which helps prevent issues.