If your child plays sports, chances are you have looked into purchasing a mouth guard for him or her. This is a smart choice as this small appliance can help to prevent serious injuries from occurring to the mouth, teeth, and even the head. The key is purchasing the right appliance, however. There are many options including stock, boil and bite, and custom mouth guards.
Stock Mouth Guards
Stock mouth guards are the appliances that anyone can purchase at their local drugstore. They are convenient, but they do not provide very much protection. Unless the appliance fits your child’s mouth perfectly, which chances are it does not, it is not protecting them well. Most stock mouth guards are cumbersome, making it hard to breathe and talk, which makes most kids avoid wearing them when they can.
Boil and Bite Mouth Guards
The boil and bite mouth guards provide a little more protection than stock mouth guards and are also available at the local drug store. This appliance is placed in boiling water for a specified period of time (each brand is different) and then placed in your child’s mouth when it is slightly cooled, yet still pliable. Once it is in your child’s mouth, you are supposed to shape it to the shape of your child’s teeth using your fingers as well as their tongue. This helps to provide a more secure fit, but it is not a perfect science.
Custom Fit Mouth Guards
Custom fit mouth guards are typically the best choice for anyone. These appliances are specifically created for your child’s mouth. This is done through the use of dental molds that are taken of his mouth and sent off to a lab. The custom appliance is then created. Custom mouth guards are ensured a proper fit and the highest level of protection of your child’s mouth during any sport.
If you are considering purchasing a mouth guard for your child, the custom mouth guard is the most effective choice, but if you are unable to get to our office in time to have an appliance made, the boil and bite appliance is the next best choice. Of course, if you have no choice and the over-the-counter, stock mouth guard is the only option available, it is better than nothing. If you know your child is going to be playing sports, come in for a visit and have us create a mouth guard for him or her in plenty of time to ensure his ultimate protection.