A mouthguard is a flexible appliance made out of plastic that is worn to protect teeth from trauma. Mouthguards help prevent injury to the mouth area, especially to the teeth, lips, cheeks, and tongue. They also protect against head and neck injuries by cushioning blows that could otherwise cause concussions or jaw fractures.
A mouthguard is especially important for athletes who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouthguard provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, limiting the risk of soft tissue injuries.
Types of Mouthguards
- A stock mouthguard offers the least protection and may interfere with speech and breathing because it requires that the jaw be closed to hold it in place.
- Mouth-formed protectors mold to your teeth when moistened.
- Custom-made mouth protectors offer the best protection. It is made by a dental lab from Dr. Geare’s impression of your teeth.
- After each use, clean your mouthguard in cool, soapy water and rinse it thoroughly.
- Check the condition of your mouthguard to see if it needs replacement. Tears and perforations can irritate your mouth tissues and diminish the amount of protection the mouthguard can provide.
- Don’t leave your mouthguard in direct sunlight or in a hot automobile.
- Never handle or wear someone else’s mouthguard.