If you or your child engages in any type of contact sport such as football, boxing, hockey, soccer, or lacrosse or any physical activity in which a fall is possible such as cycling, gymnastics, or skateboarding, a mouth guard is very important to protect your teeth from injury. In the event of an accident, an mouth guard can help protect your lips, gums, and tongue as well as helping to prevent chipped or broken teeth or from having a tooth knocked out.
There are three basic types of mouth guards available for sporting and recreational activity. Standard pre-formed mouth guards can be purchased at sporting goods stores or department stores. These mouth guards are inexpensive, but offer little in the way of protection. Since they are pre-formed, they do not closely conform to the shape of your teeth and gums. They are bulky, uncomfortable, and can make breathing difficult.
A much more effective alternative are moldable “boil and bite” mouth guards made from thermoplastic material that is moldable when warm but retains its shape at body temperature. These mouth guards are placed in boiling water to soften, then you bite down on them softly and use your fingers and tongue to mold the guard around your teeth and gums. These mouth guards are more effective at preventing injuries and are much more comfortable than pre formed mouth guards and can also be purchased at most sporting goods stores.
The top of the line mouth guard that provided the best in protection and comfort is a mouth guard custom made by your dentist. These custom made mouth guards are professionally made using an impression of your teeth. They are more expensive than the other types of mouth guards, but they offer the ultimate in protection and comfort.
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