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Mouth Guards

Mouth Guards

Highmoor Dental Mouth Guard Night Guard TMJ Edmonton

Mouth Guards

Benefits of custom dental mouth guards to protect your teeth


Are you considering getting a mouth guard for teeth grinding or for playing sports?

You’ll probably agree:

Choosing a mouth guard is a surprisingly complex process!

Different devices are used to protect your teeth during physical activity (mouth guards) than are used to prevent grinding of your teeth during sleep (bite appliances).

Then there’s the question of whether to buy your teeth guard over-the-counter or have it customized by a dentist.

To help you navigate your options and make an informed decision about which mouth guard is right for you, we’ll review:

  • Thick, removable sports mouth guards and their incredible effectiveness.
  • How sport mouth guards protect your teeth by redistributing impact, acting as a barrier, and possibly preventing concussions.
  • The different kinds of bite appliances (dental night guards, stabilization appliances, and repositioning appliances) and the symptoms they alleviate, such as:
    • Teeth grinding and clenching during sleep
    • Misaligned bites
    • Protruding jaws
    • Hyperactive muscles
    • TMJ Disorders
  • How night guards, stabilization appliances, and repositioning appliances work by separating your lower teeth, redistributing jaw pressure, or pulling your jaw forward, respectively.
  • Which symptoms specific bite appliances protect you from and prevent, such as:
    • Night guards: Mild TMJ disorder symptoms and teeth grinding and clenching
    • Stabilization Appliances: TMJ disorder symptoms and teeth grinding and clenching
    • Repositioning Appliances: Short-term solution for severe TMJ disorders
  • How custom mouth guards and bite appliances provide better comfort and protection than over-the-counter products, such as stock and “Boil-and-Bite” devices.

What is a Mouth Guard?

Did you know that every individual involved in a contact sport has a 10% chance of sustaining an injury to the mouth, jaw, or face?

Regardless of age, gender, sport, or skill level, you are at risk for:

  • Lost or broken teeth
  • Lacerated or bruised gums and lips
  • Jaw fractures
  • Headaches and migraines

Athletic mouth guards are thick, removable oral appliances that you wear during your games, practices, or workouts that prevent these injuries.

They’re incredibly effective:

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you are 1.6 to 1.9 times less likely to be injured wearing a mouth guard.

This protection is critical because these injuries are costly and time-consuming to fix—especially for those with braces and fixed orthodontic appliances, as impact can damage brackets and wires, which in turn may cut and tear your soft tissue.

Furthermore, injury can have a severe psychological impact. For instance, the Canada Dental Hygienists Association notes children with injured anterior teeth were 20 times more likely to report a negative impact on quality of life.


How Does a Mouth Guard Work?

Mouth guards protect you in a number of ways, such as:

  • Redistributing impact that would otherwise be directed to your teeth, gums, supporting bones, or soft tissues.
  • Acting as a cut-preventing barrier between your teeth the soft tissue in and around your mouth.
  • While the evidence is currently inconclusive, some researchers suggest mouth guards could help prevent concussions and spinal injuries by repositioning vulnerable structures in your head.

Highmoor Dental Sports Mouth Guard Athletic Guard Edmonton

What is a Bite Appliance?

A bite appliance is a removable device that alleviates or prevents conditions such as:

  • Bruxism: the repetitive grinding and clenching of teeth.
  • Malocclusion of teeth: a misaligned bite.
  • Prognathism: a protruding jaw.
  • Hyperactive Muscles: muscles that can’t relax and are in pain.
  • TMJ Disorders: a number of conditions that afflict the temporomandibular joint—the structure that connects your jaw to the skull.

Depending on your condition and its severity, there are different kinds of bite appliances we may recommend, such as:

  • Night Guard:
    • Molded to fit over your upper and lower teeth naturally.
    • Made from soft or hard plastic, or a combination of the two.
  • Stabilization Appliance:
  • Repositioning Appliance:
    • Non-permissive, meaning ramps limit the movement of your jaw.
    • Made from hard material.

How Does a Bite Appliance Work?

Each kind of bite appliance works differently:

  • Night Guard:
    • Worn every time you sleep.
    • Separates your lower and bottom teeth.
    • Unlike repositioning and stabilization appliances, night guards don’t provide significant forward jaw movement or support.
  • Stabilization Appliance:
  • Repositioning Appliance:
    • A short-term TMJ mouth guard you wear continuously until jaw pain dissipates and your healthcare provider forms a long-term plan.
    • Pulls your jaw forward to align your TMJ correctly.

How Can a Bite Appliance Help Protect Your Teeth?

Each bite appliance manages varying symptoms:

  • Night Guard:
    • Prevents bruxism, clenching, grinding, and the wearing of teeth.
    • Relaxes your jaw muscles.
  • Stabilization Appliance:
    • Prevents bruxism, clenching, grinding, and the wearing of teeth.
    • Reduces facial pain by relaxing TMJ muscles.
    • Reduces inflammations and any ensuing jaw pain.
  • Repositioning Appliance:
    • Reduces jaw popping and clicking from a misaligned TMJ.
    • Effectively reduces TMJ pain according to PLOS One.
    • Relaxes the jaw, muscles, and ligaments.

Do I Need a Custom Dental Mouth Guard Compared to an Over-The-Counter Mouth Guard?

The Journal of Diagnostic and Clinical Research classifies mouth guards in three categories:

  • Type I: Stock mouth guards (least preferred):
    • Held in place by continuously biting down on the mouth guard.
    • Least comfort, protection, breathability, and durability.
  • Type II: Mouth formed (Boil-and-Bite) mouth guards:
    • Mouth guard is placed in boiling water until it is softened. When you bite into it, it takes on the shape of your mouth.
    • Less bulky than stock mouth guards but not as precise or breathable as custom-made mouth guards.
    • May inadequately cover teeth (only fit 15% of athletes according to the medical journal, Physician and Sportsmedicine).
    • Becomes brittle and weak with frequent use.
  • Type III: Custom mouth guards (most preferred):
    • We make an impression of your mouth, which we use to create an exact-fitting mouth guard out of thermoplastic material.
    • Best comfort, protection, breathability, and durability.

Highmoor Dental Mouth Guard Teeth Grinding Night Guard TMJ Edmonton

A. Sports Mouth Guards

When it comes it to sports mouth guards, any protection is better than none—the exception being those with braces and fixed bridgework, who need a device customized to their appliance.

However, a custom mouth guard is always the best solution:

The Journal of the American Dental Association reports that 86.1% of participants preferred the custom mouth guard based on factors like mouth irritation, looseness, bulkiness, difficulty-speaking, and difficulties breathing.

Furthermore, the ADA also notes that athletes who wear custom-made mouth guards sustain significantly fewer dental injuries than those that don’t.


B. Bite Appliances

Custom bite appliances are a much better option than Boil-and-Bite and stock.


Conditions like bruxism and TMJ are not conducive to a “one-size-fits-all” solution:

To effectively improve your symptoms, a sleeping mouth guard should be customized to your individual features, such as the position of your jaw, TMJ, etc.

Additionally, ill-fitting appliances often slip off during sleep, negating their potential benefits. They can also be uncomfortable, therefore interfering with the quality of your sleep.

Whatever type of bite appliance you choose, be sure to consult your dentist:

The British Dental Journal warns that wearing over-the-counter bite appliances without consulting your dentist may lead to unwanted teeth movements.

Book a Consultation

Many people rely on mouth guards for their well-being.

Do you play sports?

A mouth guard can protect you by redistributing impact, protecting your soft tissue, and even reducing your risk of concussion.

A bite appliance could be right for you if you grind or clench your teeth during your sleep, or have a misaligned bite, protruding jaw, hyperactive muscles, or a TMJ disorder.

Night guards, stabilization appliances, and repositioning appliances can alleviate and prevent these conditions by separating your upper and lower teeth, easing pressure on your jaw, and aligning your TMJ.

While stock and “Boil-and-Bite” appliances are available, only custom mouth guards provide you with the comfort and protection you deserve, whether it’s while you’re on the field or during your sleep.

Ready to design your custom mouth guard, or want to learn more about mouth guards? We’re happy to help. Book a free consultation now, by calling (780) 425-1646.


Do you have questions about Mouth Guards or Bite Appliances?


One Response

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