Staying active is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. The only problem is that certain activities can put your smile at risk. This is where sports guards come into the picture, but there are several different types to choose from. How do you know that you’re getting the best for your buck? Continue reading to learn more about over the counter and custom-made mouthguards from your dentist. This way, you can make the right decision for your smile.
How Do Over the Counter Mouthguards Work?
The most common type of sports guard that you can buy over the counter is generally formed through a method called “boil and bite.” Following the instructions that come with the guard, you will boil it in water for a specific amount of time to make the plastic more soft and pliable. Next, you remove it from the water and carefully place it in your mouth. You gently bite down on it so the plastic molds to the shape of your teeth. Once it has cooled, you can make any other needed customizations by using scissors or a razorblade.
The good thing about this type of sports guard is that it’s affordable (generally between $15 to $35), easy to get, and quick to fit. Using an over the counter guard is certainly much better than not using one at all, but they don’t tend to last a long amount of time and aren’t suited for people who are violent teeth grinders.
How Do Custom-Made Mouthguards Work?
For a custom-fit sports guard, you must go to the dentist. The first step is that your dentist will take an impression of your teeth using a dental putty that forms to each and every crevice to create the perfect shape for your mouth. This mold is then used either in the dental office or a lab where your mouthguard is created using superheated plastic.
Because they are precisely customized, you are guaranteed a perfect fit and don’t need to worry about them breaking or becoming worn too easily.
Which Option Is Best?
Over the counter boil and bite guards are very affordable and somewhat effective, but they don’t provide nearly as much protection as one that is custom-made by your dental office. If you don’t mind spending a little bit more time and money for greater, more quality protection and a greater longevity, a custom-made mouthguard is definitely the right path to take.
To provide better protection to your smile when you’re playing sports or taking part in other activities, ask your dentist about custom-made mouthguards. This way, you can stay active without having to worry about dental injuries.
About the Author
Dr. David W. Cleveland has been providing quality dental care to patients for nearly two decades. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery at The Ohio State University and has received advanced training in many different aspects of general dental care. He is committed to keeping up with continuing education and investing in the latest dental technologies. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (937) 644-8822.