Whether you play a contact sport or want to stop grinding your teeth at night, you might benefit from wearing a mouth guard. There are many different styles and brands of mouth guards that are available to purchase over the counter for both athletic use and teeth grinding. While they may be the most affordable option, their benefits are minimal compared to a custom mouth guard made in our office.
Types of Over the Counter Mouth Guards
The two main categories of over the counter mouth guards are stock and boil and bite. Stock mouth guards are also sometimes called one-size mouth guards, and they are ready to use right out of the package. This type of mouth guard can be purchased at a sporting goods store, department store, or pharmacy, and they are usually inexpensive. The biggest disadvantage of stock mouth guards is that they are not custom-formed to your teeth, so they can be ill-fitting and uncomfortable to wear. They also do not provide as much protection as other types of mouth guards.
Boil and bite mouth guards typically fit better than stock mouth guards because they are made out of a thermoplastic material that softens in hot water. Once it is boiled, you place the guard in your mouth and use your tongue and fingers to shape it around your teeth. Boil and bite mouth guards are another affordable option for tooth protection that can be purchased at a variety of stores or online. Boil and bite mouth guards offer more protection than stock mouth guards due to their superior fit, but they are still not as effective as a custom mouth guard.
Over the Counter Versus Custom Mouth Guards
Custom mouth guards are made right in our office or in a dental lab. We use a special material to take impressions of your teeth which we then fill with plaster to create casts. Using the casts, we can fabricate your custom mouth guard in about a week or two. The advantages of custom mouth guards are that they are less bulky than stock or boil and bite options, they fit significantly better and are more comfortable, they are easier to speak and breathe with, and they offer superior protection. Even though they are more expensive than over the counter options, their benefits in protecting your teeth far outweigh the greater financial cost. If you are interested in being fitted for a custom mouth guard, contact our office today.