Three Reasons Why Dentist-Made Mouthguards Are Better Than Store-Bought
If you grind your teeth or have another reason that you need protection during the night, chances are you've considered a mouthguard. Mouthguards keep teeth from pressing against each other, reducing the risk of damage. However, there's a big difference between a mouthguard bought from a grocery store and one made by a dentist just for you. Here's why you dentist-made mouthguards are always better.
When you get a mouthguard from a dentist, they don't just sell you one that's been sitting on a rack. Your dentist will make sure that your new mouthguard has the most perfect fit possible.
Your dentist will do this by taking scans, X-rays, and a mold of your teeth. This mold and the supplementary information will be sent to a manufacturer, who will build the mouthguard from scratch using the mold of your teeth. What they send back will be a one-of-a-kind mouthguard that will fit you and only you, reducing the risk of slipping, sliding, and discomfort.
No Risk of Burns
There is such a thing as custom-fit mouthguards from stores, but they're quite different from the kind you get from a dentist. Instead of being made for you, these mouthguards require being reshaped in order to fit your teeth properly.
The biggest problem with this is that it generally requires putting the mouthguard in hot water long enough for it to become soft and flexible. Then, while it's still soft, you have to put it on your teeth and bite down to create the custom indentation of your teeth.
Timing is of the essence with this process, but it can be tricky. If you put the mouthguard on too late, it won't form to your teeth. If you put it on too early, you could expose yourself to significant burns in your mouth and on your gums or tongue.
Special Conditions Considered
Finally, custom mouthguards from dentists always take any special conditions that the patient has into consideration. For example, if you look at a mouthguard sold in stores, you may see a note that people with TMJ or jaw injuries in their past shouldn't use the product. This is because a generic mouthguard doesn't take these things into consideration and could potentially hurt someone if it forces their jaw into an awkward position.
On the other hand, your dentist knows your personal history and what accommodations may need to be made for the shape of your jaw. Your custom mouthguard will fit and won't cause you any pain or stiffness of the jaw when you take it off.
Getting a mouthguard is a good idea, especially if you've already experienced tooth damage from grinding. How you go about getting that mouthguard, however, is just as important as getting one in the first place. Talk to a dentist and set up an appointment to have one made just for you.