What is a Sports Guard?
A Sports guard is also known as a mouth guard or mouth protector. It is worn on top of your teeth to protect them from force or pressure to the face. They are important for anyone who participates in sports that involve physical contact. Examples of sports that have a chance of falls, bodily contact or equipment flying are hockey, baseball, basketball, soccer, skateboarding, etc.
They are usually worn to cover the top teeth. They help to protect against fractured or broken teeth, injury to the lips and other damage to the mouth. They may be worn on the lower teeth as well if you have braces or any other type of dental appliance there.
Types of Sports Guards
There are different types of sports guards but the best option is always a custom fitted sports guard. The three types of sports guards are:
Stock / Generic Sports Guards – These are already molded and are ready to wear when bought. They can be found at sporting goods stores however, they do not offer a precise fit. Due to this, some can find them bulky which can make talking and breathing a little difficult. They are also not as effective in reducing damage due to their imprecise fit.
Heat & Bite Sports Guards – These can also be bought at most sports stores and they offer a slightly better fit than the generic sports guards. These ones are soaked in hot or warm water to make them soft. Once they are soft, they are applied to the teeth using finger pressure to form them and using your bite to create the grooves that your teeth will fit into.
Custom Fitted Sports Guards – These are the best option, since they are created to fit your mouth and your bite perfectly. They are created in the dental office or by a dental laboratory. Your dentist will take a dental impression of your bite and use that mold to create the sports guard using a special material.
Sports guards are not the same as a night guard. Night guards are used for people who constantly grind or clench their teeth.