What is a mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a removable rubber or polyvinyl shield worn over your teeth, most commonly the upper teeth, to protect the teeth and jaw from traumatic injury during sporting activities.
Are there different types of mouthguards?
There are two basic types of mouthguards available:
- The custom fitted mouthguard is available from your dentist. This mouthguard is constructed directly from a mould taken of your teeth in the dental surgery and fits tightly and comfortably over your teeth. This type of mouthguard is the type recommended by the dental profession and is the most effective in preventing injuries to the teeth and jaw.
- The “do it yourself” mouthguard, available at many pharmacies are usually poorly fitting and uncomfortable to wear. Dentists do not recommend these as they offer little protection to the teeth and patients are encouraged to obtain the custom-fitted guard as a bare minimum.
Every year, thousands of children and adults all around the country are treated for dental injuries that could have been prevented or at the very least minimised by wearing a mouth guard.
Generally the treatment required can be complex and expensive. It may involve numerous appointments and often root canal treatment may result, presuming it is even possible to save the tooth if a severe sporting injury has occurred.
Mouth guards should be used in any sport where deliberate or accidental injury to your face, teeth and jaws may occur. They need to be worn not just during games, but also during training or whenever there is a chance of facial contact.
The old saying ‘it is better to be safe than sorry’ is certainly true when it comes to getting a mouth guard to protect your teeth.
What are Bleaching Splints?
Tooth whitening is becoming more and more popular and take home bleaching trays are the most commonly used and recommended technique. It is tried and tested and achieves predictable results.
The treatment involves wearing custom-made mouth guards or trays for an extended period of time each day or night. The duration the custom-fitted tray is worn may vary according to a person’s individual needs and or the recommendation of dental staff.
Over the counter products that are self-administered and often inferior are not recommended. Bleaching treatment should be advised by your dentist, hygienist or therapist and after a proper exam and diagnosis.
The production of the custom-fitted tray is a 3 step process:
The dentist, hygienist or therapist takes an impression of the upper and lower teeth.
These impressions are used to produce replica models of your teeth so that correctly designed bleaching trays are constructed.
The custom fitted trays are checked and inserted by the dentist or staff together with instructions on how they should be used, after care, and safe use of the supplied bleaching material.
When the professional custom trays are made in this manner they are designed so that there is a micro-space across the front surface of the teeth to allow a controlled quantity of bleaching gel to come into close contact with the surface of the teeth. This provides an even coverage of material to promote an even bleaching of the teeth.
It is this simple custom-fitted tray that is the secret to the effectiveness of the bleaching procedure.