Visits to the dentist aren’t always about treating an existing condition. Sometimes, they’re about prevention rather than cure. Mouthguards are one of the preventative measures that Dr. Matthew Ward, our dentist in Bay City, MI, can help you with that will preserve your smile in a variety of circumstances.
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What Are Mouthguards?
Mouthguards are molded plastic devices that cover the teeth and gums, and help to protect the teeth from a variety of potential sources of damage. Some people use them when playing sports, while others use them at night, to prevent tooth grinding.
Who Should Use A Mouthguard?
Anyone who plays contact sports can definitely benefit from a mouth guard to protect their teeth, but even if you are involved in non-contact sports like cycling, a mouthguard can help keep your teeth safe in case of an accident.
Mouthguards are particularly important for people who have braces or bridgework, as expensive dental treatments could very easily be damaged by a stray ball or elbow.
People who grind their teeth at night are also ideal candidates for night guards, which Dr. Ward, our dentist in Bay City, MI, frequently recommends to protect teeth from the repetitive action of grinding. Some night time mouthguards can even be manufactured to position the jaw better, to avoid problems like sleep apnea.
What Types Of Mouth Guards Are There?
Mouthguards known as “stock” models are generic guards made from plastic that you can buy off the shelf, usually in sporting goods stores. They generally don’t fit very well and can be uncomfortable, but they will offer more protection to your teeth while playing sports than not using a guard at all.
Another off the shelf mouthguard is the so called “boil and bite” system, where a guard is placed in hot water, and then into the mouth, and the softened plastic shaped to fit your mouth better. These are a little more comfortable and will provide some protection, but they’re also not the perfect solution.
Finally, there’s the custom fit mouthguard that you can have made by our dentist, Dr. Ward at Bay City Dental Center. This type of guard is made specifically for your mouth, and fits your teeth perfectly. It’s the most comfortable solution and offers the best protection, and this is the type of mouth guard we offer our patients.
How Are Mouthguards Made?
Whether you use a mouthguard for sports or to protect your teeth from grinding at night, the process to make them is the same.
First, you should book an appointment to see Dr. Ward, our dentist in Bay City, MI. During this appointment, Dr. Ward will identify your needs, discuss them with you, and take impression models of your teeth. These impressions will be sent to the lab for manufacturing, and when your custom mouthguard is ready, it will be sent back to our office.
During your follow up appointment, you will be given your new custom mouthguard, and we’ll fit it in the dental practice to make sure everything is comfortable and lining up correctly. Your dentist will provide you with follow up care instructions for both your teeth and your mouthguard, and information about how to look for signs of wear and tear.
Mouthguards have a relatively long lifespan, depending on how you use them, and how frequently, but if you have any concerns about your guard, you can always bring it along to your appointment with Dr. Ward, our dentist in Bay City, MI, for a professional opinion.