Dental Mouth Guards: Athletic/Sports Guards
Occlusal Guards (AKA Bite Splints)/Night Guards
An athletic/sports guard is a flexible fitted device worn over the teeth to prevent damaging the teeth during athletic and recreational activities. The mouth guard works as a barrier between the teeth and the cheeks, between the lips and the tongue to limit the risk of soft tissue damage.
Dr. Davis strongly recommends that custom fitted athletic/sports guards be used by his patients.
While there are pre-made athletic/sports guards and do-it-yourself types in sporting goods stores and at a variety of other stores such as department stores and drug stores the extra expense of custom fitted athletic/sports guards are worth the benefits in comfort and protection.
There are (3) types of athletic/sports guards:
- Stock athletic/sports guards. These are pre-formed and ready to wear and are sold at sporting goods stores and at a variety of other stores such as department stores and drug stores. They are usually made of rubber or polyvinyl and tend to be bulky requiring the jaw to be closed to hold them in place. The stock athletic/sports guards create problems for the wearer such as, gagging, breathing and talking problems. They are the least expensive but are also the worst fitting, least comfortable, and least protective and therefore most dentists do not recommend them.
- Mouth formed athletic/sports guards. It can be a shell liner type which is lined with acrylic gel or rubber that molds to the teeth and sets to keep its shape. It can also be the boil and bite type which is made of thermoplastic material that is placed in boiling water to soften then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using the fingers, lips, tongue, and biting pressure. The boil and bite type can be reheated and refitted to adjust to a more comportable fit. Again, these are sold at sporting goods stores and at a variety of other stores such as department stores and drug stores. They are better than the stock athletic/sports guards but remain bulky and cannot offer the benefit of professionally custom fitted athletic/sports guards.
- Custom fitted athletic/sports guards. These are made at a dental office or by a professional lab following the dentist's instructions. Impressions are made specific to your teeth by the dentist and the mouth guard is made using your model with special material. The custom fitted athletic/sports guards are made to cover all of your teeth and to provide cusion against falls and blows to the chin. The most common material used is acrylic but other material may apply especially if the wearer is allergic to acrylics. The custom fitted athletic/sports guards are more expensive but provide the most comfort and allow for better breathing and talking and more importantly they provide the most protection not just for the teeth but from soft tissue damage. Also for fun custom fitted athletic/sports guards can be made by your dentist in team colors and with team logos.
There are other types of mouth guards not to be confused with athletic/sports guards such as occlusal splints (bite splints) or night guards which are also removable dental appliances that are worn to protect teeth and dental work. The occlusal splints (bite splints) are custom fitted dental appliances used to manage jaw issues or to stabilize a bite to a pain free position before dental restoration work. Night guards are used to deal with night clenching and/or grinding to reduce chipping or fracturing or wearing down of teeth.
If you require more information, please contact the office of Dr. John M. Davis III, D.D.S. at (954) 941-3003.
Dr. Davis' office is conveniently located in Pompano Beach, FL and serves patients that travel long distances as well as locally from Fort Lauderdale, Lighthouse Point, Deerfield Beach, Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Parkland and Boca Raton.