Mouthguards are protective devices worn at night or while playing sports to protect your teeth from grinding or impact. They typically come in one of three forms:
- Pre-made – The least expensive option, pre-made mouthguards can be purchased from most sporting good stores and department stores. However, if a pre-made mouthguard doesn’t fit well out of the box, little can be done to improve their fit. Because pre-made mouthguards offer little or no protection, we generally discourage their use.
- “Boil and bite” – The most common option for sports, “boil and bite” mouthguards are made from a thermoplastic material. After you purchase a “boil and bite” mouthguard, it can be formed to your mouth by first putting it in hot water to soften, and then placing it in your mouth to shape around your teeth.
- Custom-made – The most comfortable option, custom-made mouthguards are made by taking an impression of your teeth and producing a mouthguard from the model.
If you are prone to nighttime clenching, you may need a “occlusal splint”, or nightguard. These are typically made with a heat-cured acrylic resin so that they’re comfortable to wear while you sleep.