With there being so many types of “mouthguards” available in the dental world, here is a compilation of some of the most commonly used appliances and a few reasons we may recommend them. Many appliances are known by several different names, if your not seeing something your looking for please give us call!
Nightguard/Occlusal guard/Occlusal splint
There are several reasons and occlusal guard can be recommended. Patients who are big teeth grinders or who clench their teeth at night are one of the biggest reasons we recommend them. During sleep some people subconciously will grind or clench their teeth. Over time this causes the teeth to wear down and potentially chip and fracture. While the appliance can help reduce the amount of grinding or clenching it does not always get rid of it completely. The appliance serves to protect the natural teeth from wearing down. These appliances can be fabricated for either the upper or lower jaw and normally are worn only at nighttime while you are sleeping.
Dr. Baldwin and Dr. Petersen recommend using a mouthguard during any activity that could result in a blow to the face or mouth. The custom mouthguards that we fabricate here at our office fit more snug than your normal boil-&-bite mouthguards, making it easy to talk and breath while you are wearing it. A properly fitted mouthguard can help prevent broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw. Athletic mouthguards typically cover the upper teeth. If you wear braces or another fixed dental appliance on your lower jaw, your dentist may suggest a mouth protector for these teeth as well. A properly fitted mouthguard may be especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. They also provide a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, limiting the risk of soft tissue injuries.
There are three types of athletic mouthguards:
- Stock-Stock mouth protectors are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit or stay in place very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.
- Boil and bite-Boil and bite mouth protectors also can be bought at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They should be softened in boiling water, then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. If you don’t follow the directions carefully you can wind up with a poor-fitting mouth protector.
- Custom-fitted-Custom-fitted mouth protectors are made by your dentist for you personally. Because they are customized they can offer a better fit than anything you can buy off the shelf. One of the fun parts of our custom mouthguards is you can customize it with your team’s logo, your name or nickname, jersey number and more!
Jaw Repositioning Splint/Snoring Appliance/Sleep Apnea Appliance
These appliances are used as aids in decreasing the prominence of sleep apnea and snoring. Patients experience varied results but many have seen large improvements. These appliances involve wearing customized guards on both the upper and lower arches which are then connected together. When connected, the lower jaw is positioned more forward than it’s natural position to allow the airway to be more open, in turn decreasing the apnic episodes during sleep and decreasing the amount of snoring.
If you have questions about whether one of these appliances is right for you, please set up an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Baldwin or Dr. Petersen.