There are two situations when teeth benefit from extra protection. One is when you are sleeping and one is when you are very, very awake — during athletics. The need is obvious for a dental guard while engaged in football, boxing, wrestling, hockey, baseball, and other sports dangerous to your teeth. Athletic guards prevent lost and broken teeth, thus avoiding thousands of dollars in dental expense.
Night Guards & Athletic Guards
Not so obvious is the need for a guard during the night. Some people have a night-time habit of grinding or clenching their teeth, sometimes putting a great deal of pressure on their natural teeth, replacement teeth and dental restorations such as fillings and crowns. In addition, this can place too much pressure on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), resulting in pain, headaches, and/or clicking noises when opening and closing the mouth.
Ready-made athletic guards may be found at sporting good stores, but there is little that can be done in the way of adjusting the fit. Such devices can be uncomfortable and even interfere with breathing and speaking, thus discouraging an athlete from wearing the device at all. On the playing field, not being able to speak clearly can lose a game! Given the importance of protecting your teeth and winning games, you might want to order a custom-made athletic guard that you will actually wear.
Custom-Made Mouth Guards
Dr. Davenport can provide you with a custom-made night guard or athletic guard, consisting of a thin layer of molded plastic that fits snugly over your teeth, prevents the top teeth and bottom teeth from making contact, and (in the case of an athletic guard) protects you from blows to the mouth.
During your first appointment, we will make impressions of your upper and lower teeth. These will be sent to a dental laboratory, where trained technicians will model and form the guard appliance. Dual-laminate mouth guards consist of two layers, an inner layer for comfort and an outer layer for durability. Proform athletic guards, which we recommend, are made of three laminated plastic layers and incorporate a shock transmitter behind the four most vulnerable teeth – the incisors.
During your second visit, we will make sure the guard fits properly and give you instructions regarding its use and care. That part is simple! Brush your guard when you brush your teeth! Depending on the type, the use, and the degree of care, a guard generally lasts from three to ten years.