woman holding a mouth guard

Over The Counter And Dental Mouth Guard: What Are Their Differences?

Mouthguards are often seen in athletes to protect their teeth and jaw from injuries, but did you know that it also serves other purposes? Over-the-counter mouthguards are usually used by people diagnosed with bruxism. While this product can generally protect the teeth, advice by an experienced dental team still includes a custom-fit dental mouth guard for premium protection.

Mouthguards are often seen in athletes to protect their teeth and jaw from injuries, but did you know that it also serves other purposes? Over-the-counter mouthguards are usually used by people diagnosed with bruxism. While this product can generally protect the teeth, advice by an experienced dental team still includes a custom-fit dental mouth guard for premium protection.

 

Use of Dental Mouth Guard

It is widely known that a mouth guard is supposed to protect the jaw and teeth from injuries most especially if you are highly engaged in intense activities such as sports, physical, and recreational hobbies. Additionally, mouthguards are also used by people with bruxism to prevent jaw pain and headaches.

A dental mouth guard often protects the following:set of mouthguards

  • jaw
  • teeth
  • tongue
  • lips
  • face
  • gums

These dental products typically cover the upper part of the teeth since the lower teeth are more durable and have built-in protection most of the time.

Who Needs A Mouth Guard

Generally speaking, people who are always engaged in extreme physical contact are advised to wear mouth guards. Overall, we are always at risk of dental injuries, but people who participate in the following sports are more prone to dental damage:

  1. basketball
  2. football
  3. boxing
  4. hockey
  5. soccer
  6. volleyball
  7. frisbee

A mouth guard may also be recommended to people who grind their teeth at night to prevent any harm in the jaws and teeth. This type of condition often results in headaches and jaw pain in the morning.

 

Over The Counter Vs Dental Mouth Guard

Choosing a mouth guard definitely depends on a few factors such as follows:

  • personal preference of the user
  • level of comfort
  • budget
  • materials
  • required protection extent

To fully help you decide, let us compare these two, hopefully, by the end of this article, you will be able to determine which mouthguard is the best fit for you.

Custom Fit Dental Mouth Guard

This type of mouthguard is made especially for the patient’s specific needs. The dentist will create the mouth guard according to the size of your teeth and jaw to make them fit perfectly. Your mouth will be molded accordingly and the mold will be used to create the custom-fit mouthguard.

The mouthguard can be adjusted by the dentist afterward for a more precise fitting. A dental mouth guard is supposed to be durable and has a comfortable shape. Unlike over the counter mouthguards, this kind of mouthguard hugs the teeth closely to prevent them from falling.

Advantages of Dental Mouth Guard

It’s no surprise that custom-fit mouthguards have their own perks and advantages. Some of its benefits include the following:

  1. Perfect fit. Teeth grinders will mostly benefit from this because dentists create them to fit your teeth perfectly. Its thickness will vary according to how severe your grinding is. In addition, it can also reduce jaw pain caused by grinding and over time, may even lessen teeth clenching.
  2. It provides more protection. Since it fits your teeth perfectly, it can provide premium protection compared to over-the-counter mouthguards. A dental mouth guard can drastically reduce injuries and risks of concussion.
  3. It’s more comfortable. A mouth guard needs to be comfortable since the person will wear it most of the time. If the material is too thick or too thin, there is a tendency that the person will chew on it while asleep. It will also make the mouth guard less protective and useful.

Some of the benefits of a dental mouth guard also include the following:

  • durable
  • tasteless
  • odorless
  • flexible

Despite its many advantages, there is one drawback that makes a custom fit mouthguard hard to attain for others, its price tag. The production of the mouth guard requires a dental visit, check-up, and molding which can quite cost you some pennies. Add the fact that you will also have to wait for a few weeks before you can claim your personalized mouthguard.

Over The Counter Mouthguards

This kind of mouthguard is often used by athletes. Aside from the fact that it’s easy to buy, it is also cheaper. It is made of thinner materials and is usually offered in three different sizes, small, medium, and large. OTC mouthguards have sizes for children as well.

The product is shaped in a u-form already and all you need to do is to place it in warm water for a period of time to soften it. After this, you may proceed in inserting the mouthguard in your mouth and adjust it easily. This is called the boil and bite method.

Advantages of OTC Mouthguards

inserting mouthguard into mouthShelf mouthguards are easy to in and can be bought from your local drugstores and shops. If this is your first time purchasing a boil and bite mouthguard, make sure to consult the pharmacist for more information.

Some of its benefits include the following:

  • easy to find
  • budget-friendly
  • easy to follow instructions

Unfortunately, over the counter mouthguards poses more disadvantages compared to dental mouthguards such as follows:

  • Uncomfortable sensation. Since it’s not precisely fit in your teeth, there is a possibility that it would make sleeping at night quite uncomfortable.
  • It might not provide full protection. Unfit mouthguards have a tendency to fall off, hence, exposing you to the risks of injuries.
  • It could interfere with your breathing. Due to its improper placing, your breathing might be affected.
  • Difficulty in opening mouth. Some mouthguards only stay in place when the mouth is closed, so if you are the kind of person who sleeps with an open mouth, this might not be the best option for you.

There is also a high possibility that you lose your mouthguard while you are doing physical activities as it has the tendency to fall off unintentionally. Subsequently, you also need to replace over-the-counter mouthguards frequently because these are not as durable as dental mouthguards.

How you choose which mouth guard best suits your teeth solely depends on you. You have to think of their own advantages and disadvantages and come up with a decision that you think will benefit you more. Nevertheless, it would still be best to consult a dentist for a better recommendation.

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