Mouthguards are generally worn over the top teeth and are designed to protect against broken teeth. If your child has braces the dentist may recommend a mouthguard for the bottom teeth too.
Types of Mouthguards
- Stock mouthguards These mouthguards are inexpensive and come pre-formed. They are usually sold in small, medium, large and extra large sizes. They do not fit well because they have not been formed to your teeth. Stock mouth guards are usually bulky and uncomfortable.
- Boil and bite mouthguards These mouth guards come in a pre-formed shape that can be boiled and shaped in your mouth for a customized fit. They can be purchased in most sporting goods stores, and offer a better fit than stock mouthguards.
- Custom-made mouthguards These mouth guards are individually designed and made in your dentist’s office. Of the three types of mouth guards, the custom-made guards are the most comfortable and provide the best protection. An impression of your teeth is taken in the dental office and the guard is specifically made to fit your unique mouth.
Taking Care of Your Mouthguard
- Gently scrub your mouthguard after each use with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Store your mouthguard in a protective case.
- Do not leave your mouthguard in the sun or in hot water; it may melt or become deformed.
- Do not wear a retainer with your mouthguard. If you wear braces, your dentist will help design a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your braces.
- Do not chew on or cut pieces off of your mouthguard.
Replacing Your Mouthguard
How to Mold a Boil and Bite Mouthguard
- Pot of boiling water
- Bowl of cold water
- Boil water in the pot. There should be enough water so that the mouth guard does not sit on the bottom of the pan (it could damage the guard).
- When the water is boiling, drop the mouth guard into the pot. Leave it in for 30 seconds (do not go over the 30 seconds as it could damage the guard).
- With tongs, take the mouth guard out of the boiling water and drop in a bowl of cold water for only a moment (2 seconds). This is to slightly cool it so you do not burn your mouth.
- Pick up the mouth guard to make sure it is not too hot for your mouth.
- Place the mouth guard in your mouth and bite down for 30 more seconds.
- Carefully take the mouth guard out of your mouth and run it under cold water until fully cooled.*