Custom Mouthguards: Protecting Your Smile At Night and In-Play
Your smile is a long-term investment in your confidence and your oral and overall health, so it’s worth protecting. If you deal with issues like teeth grinding or are a player in impact sports, we have a solution. Dr. Richard Sigismondi can provide mouthguards, a simple, non-invasive way to protect your smile, at our West Sayville dental practice. Learn more about how these simple devices can help you keep your smile safe by dialing 631-563-1583 or reading the helpful guide below.
What Are Custom Mouthguards?
Custom mouthguards are protective oral devices that come in two forms, sports guards and nightguards. Sportsguards serve as protective shields for the teeth, gums, and surrounding structures during physical activities or sports, aiming to minimize the risk of injuries from impacts. They’re commonly made of pliable plastic and are designed to absorb and distribute the force of blows, reducing the likelihood of dental injuries such as chipped teeth or damage to the lips and tongue.
Nightguards play a crucial role in addressing bruxism, a condition involving teeth grinding or clenching, by providing a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth. This lessens the damage caused by these involuntary habits during sleep. These custom-fitted night guards also help in the prevention and lessening of TMJ disorders.
Reasons to Avoid Store-Bought Night Guards
Opting for store-bought boil-and-bite guards might appear convenient and cost-effective for managing teeth grinding and clenching symptoms and headaches. However, there are significant reasons why they aren’t recommended for addressing these issues.
Aggravates Teeth Grinding
At first glance, these guards can separate the teeth, but they’re typically made from soft, pliable materials. While this flexibility provides some cushioning, it lacks the necessary durability to effectively combat bruxism or teeth grinding.
Additionally, a major downside is that the soft material fails to prevent jaws from clenching, potentially worsening the problem by unintentionally encouraging further clenching and grinding. This can result in sore jaw muscles, jaw joint pain, loose teeth and facial pain, and discomfort that exacerbates the very jaw pain issues you’re aiming to treat or resolve.
Bulkiness and Discomfort
Another issue with store-bought guards is their bulk. These guards are often one-size-fits-all, and their generic design might not match the unique shape and size of your mouth. Consequently, they can feel unwieldy and uncomfortable when worn at night, increasing the likelihood that you’ll remove them during sleep, defeating their intended purpose.
Benefits of Professionally Made Custom Nightguards
Professionally made nightguards offer a range of benefits for addressing issues like teeth grinding and clenching during sleep:
- Custom Fit: A custom mouth guard is the best night guard option because it’s tailored to fit your mouth precisely, offering superior comfort and protection.
- Effective Protection: They’re designed to effectively prevent teeth damage caused by bruxism, reducing the impact of grinding and clenching.
- Prevention of TMJ Disorders: Custom-made nightguards are one of the best methods for preventing TMJ disorders and associated symptoms such as facial pain.
- Durability: Professionally made nightguards are crafted from higher quality materials, ensuring a longer lifespan compared to store-bought options.
- Improved Sleep: By alleviating discomfort and preventing damage, custom-fitted nightguards contribute to better sleep quality.
- Professional Guidance: Dr. Sigismondi provides guidance and ensures the nightguard is fitted and designed to address your specific needs, maximizing its effectiveness.
Reasons to Avoid Boil and Bite Sports Guards
While the allure of convenience and affordability may be strong, choosing boil-and-bite sports guards might not be the wisest move for safeguarding your oral health during physical activities. Here are several compelling reasons to avoid these one-size-fits-all, over-the-counter options:
Compared to custom-made mouthguards, boil-and-bite sports guards offer restricted protection. Their fit might not be secure, leaving gaps that compromise their effectiveness. In high-contact sports or activities, this inadequate protection can lead to dental injuries and other health concerns.
Boil-and-bite guards tend to be more uncomfortable and could impede breathing and communication. A poorly fitting mouthguard can cause facial discomfort, making athletes less likely to consistently wear them.
Challenges in Boiling and Shaping
The process of heating the mouthguard and molding it to your teeth can be tricky. If not done correctly, it can result in an ill-fitting mouthguard that provides minimal protection and may even cause discomfort.
Boil-and-bite mouthguards deteriorate faster compared to custom-made guards. They’re more prone to wear and tear, requiring frequent replacement and ultimately costing more over time.
Insufficient Shock Absorption
Boil-and-bite guards may not offer the same level of shock absorption as custom guards, potentially heightening the risk of dental injuries and concussions during contact sports.
Over time, boil-and-bite mouthguards can become breeding grounds for bacteria and mold due to their porous materials. Maintaining proper hygiene becomes challenging, possibly leading to unpleasant odors and oral health issues.
Benefits of Professionally Made Custom Sports Guards
Professionally made sports guards provide several advantages for athletes:
- Customized Fit: These guards are tailored to the individual’s mouth, ensuring a comfortable and secure fit, and offering optimal protection during physical activities.
- Enhanced Protection: They’re designed to effectively absorb and distribute impact, reducing the risk of dental injuries such as broken teeth, lip lacerations, or jaw injuries.
- Durability: Crafted from high-quality materials, professionally made sports guards offer better durability and resilience compared to store-bought options.
- Improved Performance: A well-fitted guard allows athletes to breathe and communicate more easily, enhancing their performance without compromising safety.
- Professional Guidance: Dr. Sigismondi will offer guidance and ensure the guard is tailored to suit the specific sport and your individual needs, maximizing its protective abilities.
- Overall Safety: Besides shielding teeth and oral structures, professionally made guards reduce the risk of concussions and other head injuries, promoting overall safety during sports activities.
The Custom Mouthguard Process at our West Sayville, NY, Dental Clinic
The first step in getting your custom-made mouthguard is attending a consultation with Dr. Sigismondi. Dr. Sigismondi will assess your needs, discuss the purpose of the custom-fitted full mouthguard (whether for sports, bruxism, or other reasons), and understand any specific requirements you might have.
Following the consultation, Dr. Sigismondi designs a custom mouthguard tailored to your mouth’s unique shape and purpose. They might take impressions or digital scans of your teeth for precise measurements.
We’ll then fit the designed mouthguard to ensure it sits comfortably and securely in your mouth. Adjustments may be made during this stage to guarantee the mouth guard has the best fit and effectiveness.
Once the mouthguard fits perfectly, you’re instructed on how to wear and care for it. For sports, guidelines on when to wear it and how to clean it might be provided. For bruxism, instructions on wearing the night guard during sleep are typically given.
Over time, adjustments for the dental guard might be necessary, especially if there are changes in your dental structure or if you experience discomfort. This phase involves revisiting the dental professional for modifications or a potential replacement to ensure continued effectiveness.
Caring for Your Custom Mouthguard
- Rinse After Use: After each use, rinse your mouthguard with cool water to remove any debris or saliva. Avoid using hot water as it can deform the mouthguard.
- Regular Cleaning: Periodically, clean your custom mouthguard with a mild soap and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Avoid abrasive cleaners that could damage the guard.
- Store Safely: When not in use, store the mouthguard in a ventilated container to allow airflow, preventing bacterial growth. Avoid leaving it in direct sunlight or hot environments.
- Avoid Chewing: Refrain from chewing on the mouthguard, as this can cause premature wear and tear, reducing its effectiveness.
- Check for Damage: Regularly inspect the mouthguard for signs of wear, tears, or deformation. If you notice any damage, consider replacing it to maintain optimal protection.
- Keep Away from Pets: Ensure the mouthguard is stored safely away from pets, as they might mistake it for a chew toy, leading to damage or contamination.
- Regular Replacement: Depending on use and wear, consider replacing the mouthguard annually, or as advised by Dr. Sigismondi, to ensure continued protection. For growing individuals, replacements might be needed more frequently to accommodate changes in mouth structure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, there are specialized mouthguards designed for individuals with braces, dental implants, and other orthodontic devices. These guards are adaptable to accommodate the dental structure and offer protection without interfering with the appliances.
Professionally fitted mouthguards are designed to allow comfortable breathing and minimal interference with speech. Athletes might need a short adjustment period to adapt to speaking with the mouth guard still in place.
The lifespan of a mouthguard varies based on usage and wear. Generally, it’s recommended to replace them annually for optimal protection, especially for growing individuals whose mouths might change.
Custom mouthguards, though pricier, offer a superior fit, comfort, and protection. They’re designed specifically for an individual’s mouth structure and purpose, providing better safeguarding against injuries compared to generic, over-the-counter mouthguards alone.