Mouth guards are essentially coverings worn over teeth to protect them from damage or injury. There are 3 basic kinds of mouth guards:
1. Stock mouth protectors – these are ready to wear, inexpensive mouth guards that you can buy in department stores. However, they they are bulky and uncomfortable, and barely offer any protection. Stock mouth guards also make talking and breathing difficult.
2. Boil and bite –these are made from a plastic polymer material and are available in sporting goods stores. As the name suggests, you need to place it in hot water so the mouth guard will soften. Then you place it in your mouth and shape it using your fingers and tongue. Boil and bite mouth protectors may be better than stock mouth guards however they also offer very little protection.
3. Custom-fitted mouth guards – you can only obtain these from your dentist as they have to be individually designed and manufactured in a professional laboratory. Custom mouth guards are more comfortable and offer better protection than the other 2 types.
If you engage in sports, you can protect your teeth by using a custom fitted mouth guard. For individuals who have problems such as teeth grinding and snoring, your dentist can also create a specially designed mouth guard to address these issues.