Kids, more than anybody else, are entitled to have a lifetime of healthy smiles. However, this is not always possible especially for physically active kids, as they are susceptible to injuries, accidents, and deleterious oral habits. Luckily for you, there’s a way to protect your kid’s precious smile, and that is by having them wear a mouthguard.
Does your kid need a mouthguard? Here’s a rundown of mouthguards and how to determine if your kid might need one and which type.
Losing a tooth is not just a matter of appearance. Aside from the embarrassing gap, it may also cause your kid to have difficulty speaking or chewing. Replacing a missing tooth can be costly, so protecting your kid’s teeth should be of utmost importance to prevent tooth loss in the first place.
Mouthguards are recommended for kids involved in sports, as they have the greater tendency for knocking out a tooth. They are also suitable for kids who have a teeth grinding habit, as they help prevent or lessen abnormal tooth wear.
Mouthguards are available in various sizes and forms, but the most common types are:
Stock mouth protectors are prefabricated, one-size-fits-all mouthguards usually available through department stores and sporting goods stores. They can be quite bulky, but good enough to be approved by sports organizations. However, dentists may not recommend them as these professionals mostly prefer the custom-made ones.
Boil and bite mouthguards are, in a way, custom-fit mouthguards. They are made of thermoplastic material which can be dipped in hot water to soften them. Once soft, the material can then be inserted in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using the fingers and the tongue. Like stock mouth protectors, boil and bite mouthguards are also found in sporting goods stores.
Custom-made mouthguards, as the name suggests, is the type custom-fitted to the patient’s mouth. Designed by dentists, they offer the best protection and so it follows that they are the most expensive as well. To fabricate the mouthguard, the dentist will first take an impression of your kid’s teeth to make a model out of it. Then the laboratory will mold a thermoplastic material over this model so the resulting mouthguard will fit perfectly onto your kid’s teeth.
Nocturnal bite plate, or simple night guard, is a special kind of mouthguard worn at night to protect against bruxism or teeth grinding. This mouthguard is fabricated in such a way that it is safe to wear during sleep.
Looking for a family dentist to recommend a mouthguard? Find a Kool Smiles partner dentist near you!