Do you or your child need a sports mouthguard? Sports mouthguards protect the teeth and gums from damage during contact sports. Contact sports are any sport that requires physical contact between players. Common contact sports include football, basketball, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, and more.
Dr. Elizabeth Duling offers custom mouthguards as a general dentistry treatment to Owens Cross Roads, AL patients. Professional sports mouthguards fit comfortably and securely in the mouth. They are custom-fit to each patient based on their dental impressions.
Benefits of Professional Sports Mouthguards
Our professional mouthguards provide multiple benefits to patients who play contact sports. Sports mouthguards:
- Protect the lower jaw from trauma
- Reduce stress on the neck
- Minimize the risk of damaged teeth or bruising
- Reduce the risk of knocked-out teeth
- Allow wearers to speak clearly
Dr. Duling will work with you or your child to create the most comfortable mouthguard possible. Contact her office if you require a new sports mouthguard.
Sports Mouthguards in Owens Cross Roads, AL
Dr. Duling begins treatment by creating dental impressions of the teeth. These impressions are used as a template for the mouthguard. She works with a dental lab that fabricates mouthguards. When complete, Dr. Duling ensures that the mouthguard fits comfortably.
Mouthguards should be cleaned regularly with an antibacterial solution or soap and water. Cleaning sports mouthguards also keeps them fresh and fights off infection-causing bacteria. We will provide you with a case for your mouthguard.
Professional vs. Store-Bought Mouthguards
Store-bought mouthguards often do not fit the teeth properly. As a result, they do not offer enough protection, may fall out, and can interfere with breathing and speaking. They also may not be as comfortable as custom professional mouthguards.
Alternatively, custom-fit professional mouthguards are a preventative measure that saves people from replacing missing teeth or treating damaged enamel. A customized, comfortable mouthguard does not require jaw clenching to keep it in place.
If you’re clenching your teeth to keep your mouthguard in often, it can lead to a TMJ disorder. You may experience pain and tension throughout the jaw, face, and head. The function of your jaw joint can be impacted as well. Your jaw may lock up, or you may be unable to open your mouth. Clicking and popping sounds may occur when you open your mouth or chew.
TMJ disorders can cause serious discomfort. If you find yourself with one, it’s important to get treatment. You may have an uneven bite or begin to clench and grind your teeth subconsciously. Another mouthguard may be in order. You should have a fitted mouthguard for sports, but a custom TMJ one is also optimal. They’re designed specifically for your mouth, keeping your jaw in the correct position while you sleep. It prevents you from damaging your teeth due to grinding or clenching.
Sports Mouthguards vs. TMJ Nightguards
If you have both problems, you may be tempted to use one mouthguard for both uses to avoid multiples. But you shouldn’t use mouthguards for anything but their explicit intended purpose. These mouthguards are made of different materials, and you can damage both the mouthguard and your teeth if you’re trying to use them for other purposes.
Sports mouthguards protect your teeth from shocks and trauma. They’re made of a bulky, lightweight material that absorbs the shock and distributes it throughout the mouthguard material. Nightguards are meant to protect your teeth during tooth grinding. If you wear a sports mouthguard at night, your grinding will quickly wear down the material. Soon, it won’t provide protection at all — both for teeth grinding and shock trauma.
On the other hand, nightguards are made of thinner, harder plastic. They prevent your upper and lower teeth from coming together when you grind them. They take on the pressure of the bite to avoid you wearing down your teeth when you grind them. If you wear this type of mouthguard while playing sports, it won’t protect you from trauma. It’s not much more protection than not having a mouthguard on at all.
Caring for Your Mouthguard
It’s crucial to take care of your mouthguard properly. If you mishandle it, it won’t be able to protect your teeth, and it can be detrimental to your oral health. Every time you take the mouthguard out, rinse it off with warm water. Don’t use hot, as it can warp the mouthguard’s plastic. Rinsing removes saliva and debris from the mouthguard to discourage bacteria growth.
At least once a day, clean the mouthguard with mild soap and water. Once a week, sanitize it more thoroughly. You can use a diluted bleach solution, denture cleaner, or cleaner specifically designed for sanitizing mouthguards. When you’re done, give the mouthguard time to dry off properly. Bacteria love a warm, wet environment. When you store your mouthguard, put it in a well-ventilated container or area.
A ventilated carrying case is the ideal place to store your mouthguard. The ventilation ensures that the mouthguard dries and isn’t in a trapped, wet compartment. It’s also convenient to avoid your mouthguard getting lost or dropped. Keep it away from pets and small children so they don’t bite or compromise the mouthguard. Ensure you check it periodically to see if any indications of flaws or warping could compromise the fit.
Keep the mouthguard out of direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, as it can warp the material. This includes avoiding too hot water when you’re cleaning your guard. We’ll monitor the fit of the guard and ensure that it’s still in good enough condition to protect your smile. If the fit is off, it’s time to take impressions and get a new guard to ensure full effectiveness.
Custom mouthguards are the best way to protect your teeth against trauma. Learn more by reading the answers to these frequently asked questions.
How long does it take to have a custom mouthguard made?
From start to finish, your mouthguard should take about two and a half weeks to be made and returned to our office. The process is simple and only requires two visits to our office. At the first appointment, we will take impressions of your teeth. These will be used to create your custom mouthpiece. When the dental lab is done, they will return them to us. At the second appointment, we will try it on to make sure it fits properly and is comfortable for you.
How often should I replace my sports mouthguard?
We suggest replacing a sports mouthguard every season or at least once a year for the best possible protection. After they are worn so often, they will begin to wear down. The thinner they get, the less protection they offer, especially with impact.
How should a custom mouthguard fit?
Your mouthguard should be positioned right where your last two molars meet. It shouldn’t overwhelm your entire jaw or push too much on your soft palate because that can activate your gag reflex. It should feel comfortable in your mouth and stay in when you talk or drink water.
Can a custom mouthguard shift my teeth?
No, a custom mouthguard shouldn’t be tight enough to move your teeth. Mouthguards should be tight enough to stay in your mouth comfortably without you having to clench your teeth to hold it in, but it shouldn’t be uncomfortably tight. The guard doesn’t fit correctly if it’s tight enough to hurt.
What happens if I don’t clean my mouthguard?
Bacteria thrive in a warm, wet environment. If you don’t clean your mouthguard, they build up more and more. These bacteria can be harmful enough to make you severely ill, and you can even die as a result. Cleaning your mouthguard is one of the most important things to do.
Is a custom mouthguard worth it?
Absolutely. A custom mouthguard may be more expensive, but it protects your teeth better. It’s comfortable and allows you to communicate freely when you have it in. You don’t have to clench your teeth to keep it in, eliminating strain on your muscles and developing TMJ conditions because of it.
Contact Our Dental Office
Do you need to replace your old sports mouthguard? Are you looking for a dentist that provides custom mouthguards? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Duling online or call her dental office today at 256.202.4186.