If you or your child play a contact sport, chances are you will need a sports mouth guard. These will help protect your teeth from injury by absorbing a lot of the impact. There are multiple kinds of sports mouth guards. While they may seem similar to night guards, there are some key differences.
Various Types of Sports Mouth Guards
Stock mouth guards are relatively inexpensive and come ready to wear. They can be found at sporting goods stores. However, while they may be affordable and easy to find, these pre-formed mouth guards are uncomfortable, easily disrupt breathing or talking, and provide minimal protection. Plus, you cannot adjust them to fit properly.
Boil and bite mouth guards fit better than stock mouth guards because they are made from a thermoplastic material. They can be softened in hot water then placed in your mouth and shaped around the teeth. While they provide a better fit, they still don’t offer the same level of protection as a professionally made custom mouth guard.
Custom mouth guards are made in a dental office or lab. Your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and mold a mouth guard over the model. These mouth guards cost more but offer greater protection, comfort, and a better fit due to the materials used and more precise measurements and tools.
Differences from Night Guards
Night guards are meant to be worn for longer periods of time and to prevent your teeth from grinding. They tend to be slimmer to help you breathe easily. Since sports mouth guards are meant to absorb impact, they tend to be bulkier and aren’t meant to be worn for hours and hours.
You will need to switch out your sports mouth guard about every six months. After that six month mark, your current mouth guard will not be able to protect your teeth as well as it used to. Night guards on the other hand can last for years, depending on how much wear and tear they endure.