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Mouth Guards

Over one hundred years ago a dentist from London by the name of Woolf Krause developed the first type of Mouth Guards (called a gum shield) to protect a boxers’ mouth. Fast forward a hundred years and we now use mouth guards in a multitude of ways.

This protective device covers the teeth and gums to prevent or reduce injury to the lips, gums and teeth.

Thousands of oral injuries are prevented each year by simply wearing a mouth guard.

Where mouth guards could be used:

Contact sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts, football, rugby, basketball, hockey, soccer, skateboarding, mountain biking and so on.

Mouth guards are also used for teeth grinding (Bruxism), teeth whitening, etc.

What are mouth guards made of?

The material used for a sports mouth guard is either soft plastic or laminate.

The material used for a night guard is generally heat-cured acrylic resin, soft acrylic or light cured composite.

Mouth Guards - No Guard
Mouth Guards - Guard

Types of mouth guards:

Stock Mouth – These mouth guards can be used with no preparation as they come in a pre-formed shape and are available in various sizes. They are good as a backup, however tend to wear down quickly.

Boil and Bite – This type of mouth guard needs to be placed into boiling water first to soften the plastic, then while the plastic is warm gently apply pressure by biting down to create a customized fit.

Vacuum formed – The dentist takes a dental impression of the patient’s mouth. The mouth guard is then made to exactly fit the impression. This type of guard will cover all the teeth and is generally more expensive than the Stock or Boil and Bite types.

Pressure Laminated – This type of mouth guard provides superior fit, comfort and protection for your mouth from injury as the material used is thicker than the other types. This type is custom made by a dentist and lasts the longest, however it is the most expensive of the listed types.

Impressionless – These are made from a medical grade thermo-polymer, can be remoulded and will work with braces. Like the boil and bite, they need to be placed into hot water first to be able to create a custom fit for your mouth.

Night Guards – Also called bite or occlusal splints are usually used for people prone to nocturnal bruxism (night time clenching). They are generally made from heat-cured acrylic resin, soft acrylic or light cured composite.

How to care for your mouth guard:

Rinse your mouth guard with cool water or with a mouth rinse before / after each use.

Use a toothbrush and toothpaste or a mild soap to remove any bacteria.

Protect it from high temperatures to minimize shape distortion.

When not in use, store the sports mouth guard in a firm perforated container. Guards made out of acrylic are kept in a container with fresh clean water.

Check that the mouth guard doesn’t have any sharp edges, holes or tears.

Bring along your mouth guard to regularly scheduled dental visits, so that your dentist can examine it.

How long do mouth guards last?

Ideally a mouth guard should be replaced after a season of sport due to the material wearing down.

Adolescents also need to replace their mouth guards as their teeth continue to grow into adulthood.

Mouth Guards on White Background

Summary:

Mouth guards will prevent or reduce dental trauma regarding injuries to the mouth and jaw. There are numerous types available at a reasonable cost to suit children and adults alike.

They are a must for any sport where you may experience accidental or deliberate impacts to the mouth and jaw. Not using a mouth guard could not only cause physical pain from an injury, but the possibility of financial pain as well…

If you live on the Sunshine Coast (Noosa) and would like to find out more information regarding mouth guards, or any other oral health questions feel free to give our team at “The Dental Junction” a call on 07 5473 5117 or contact us via the Website.

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