Athletic mouthguards are essential for patients who play contact sports. Contact sports include sports like soccer, football, boxing, or hockey. If you risk hitting other players or getting hit with a ball, you want to protect your teeth. We can create a custom mouthguard as a general dentistry service in our San Antonio, TX, dentist office.
As part of preventative care, sports mouthguards can prevent problems like tooth loss and broken and chipped teeth. We can also recommend mouthguard-like night guards if you have a TMJ disorder. While you cannot use sports mouthguards and TMJ night guards interchangeably, both protect your teeth.
Getting Custom Mouthguards in San Antonio, TX
It can take two visits to our dental office to get a custom mouthguard. We start by taking impressions of your teeth and creating a template for the lab to make your mouthguard. The lab typically takes a week or two to make the mouthguard.
When the mouthguard is ready, we call you back into the office. At this visit, we will fit the mouthguard over your teeth to ensure it fits properly. A mouthguard should fit over the top teeth. Because the upper teeth protrude over the lower teeth, they are more likely to sustain hits to the mouth.
Only boxing mouthguards cover the upper and lower teeth. The mouthguard shouldn’t cover the molars or back teeth, as this can make the appliance bulkier. Once we ensure the mouthguard fits, we will provide you with a case. Store your mouthguard in its case so it doesn’t get lost or damaged.
Caring for Sports Mouthguards
After you get your sports mouthguard, you must clean it after every use. When cleaning the mouthguard, use a liquid antibacterial soap and lukewarm water. Do not use hot water because this can warp the mouthguard.
You can also deep clean your mouthguard with a mouthguard soak. Use a mouthguard soak if you or your child’s mouthguard starts to smell. Mouthguard cleaners help keep the mouthguard fresh and prevent bacterial buildup.
Once your mouthguard is dry, put it in its case. Do not wrap your mouthguard in a napkin or paper towel because you can accidentally throw it away.
We recommend replacing your sports mouthguard as soon as it loses its shape. If your mouthguard does not fit correctly, visit our office so we can create a replacement. If you get a sports mouthguard for your child, ensure you get them a new one after every season. You may need to replace their mouthguard as they lose their baby teeth and their permanent teeth grow.
Custom Vs. Store-Bought Mouthguards
A common question we get is if custom mouthguards are worth it. There are many options for over-the-counter sports mouthguards. Still, they don’t provide the benefits you get with a custom guard specifically for your smile. Drugstore mouthguards claim that they provide a custom fit, but they’re more of a one-size-fits-all solution. They must fit a wide range of people, so companies make them in standard sizes.
Usually, you have to clench your teeth the entire time you wear your over-the-counter mouthguard so that it stays in the mouth. This prevents you from communicating with your team while you’re playing without taking it out. This makes it harder to work as a team. An ill-fitting mouthguard also makes getting a quick drink of water between plays difficult.
When we create a custom mouthguard in our San Antonio, TX office, we take impressions of your teeth. A lab creates your mouthguard from these impressions and our specifications. We ensure your mouthguard fits appropriately and will not easily slip from your mouth.
A sports mouthguard should prevent tooth damage, knocked-out teeth, and damage to metal braces. The mouthguard should absorb some of the shock from hits to the face.
Sports Mouthguards Vs. TMJ Mouthguards
Clenching your teeth for long periods has consequences. It causes tension throughout the head and face and can contribute to TMJ disorders. TMJ disorders can occur due to injury or stress on the temporomandibular joints. Damage to these joints that help you bite and chew can lead to painful symptoms.
You may experience pain, headaches, jaw joint clicking or popping, or tooth wear if you have TMD. TMJ disorders can also prevent you from moving your jaw into certain positions.
Grinding your teeth at night also wears them down faster. Teeth clenching and grinding puts your teeth at a higher risk of chipping or breaking. A custom mouthguard can protect you from these conditions when you grind your teeth at night.
If you have a TMJ mouthguard, using it for sports is tempting. However, it would be best to never use the guard for anything other than its specific use. You can damage your teeth and the mouthguard if you use them for other things. They’re made of different materials, each designed for a certain function.
Sports mouthguards are made of a light, bulky material. Its main purpose is to absorb shocks from hits, distributing it throughout the mouthguard. A night guard is a heavier plastic that’s more compact. The night guard is designed to prevent your teeth from grinding together at night, protecting them from damage.
If you tried to use the sports mouthguard for teeth grinding, your teeth would work through the material. The mouthguard can’t stand up to constant pressure. It would wear down, and your teeth would grind against each other again.
Wearing a night guard for sports wouldn’t give you much protection. They won’t be much different than wearing no protection at all. Hits to the acrylic night guard would cause dental trauma.
If you need a sports mouthguard and a TMJ night guard, we can provide both in our office. Use them separately for their intended uses.
Schedule an Appointment
Protect your teeth with a custom mouthguard in our San Antonio, TX office. Call Smile Land Family Dental today at 210-939-9689 or schedule an appointment online to learn more. Please get in touch with us with any questions about sports mouthguards or TMJ night guards. We’re here to help.