Mouth guards are pliable, form-fitted trays that cover the teeth and are used to protect the teeth from injury during sports. Depending on the sport, they will vary in thickness, hardness, and amount of coverage. An effective mouth guard should be comfortable, resist tears, be durable and easy to clean, and should not restrict your breathing or speech. While mouth guards are available at retail stores, custom-fitted mouth guards are individually designed and made in a professional dental laboratory based on Dr. Freidell’s instructions.

Nightguards and splints are hard, acrylic, form-fitted trays that cover the teeth and are used to protect the teeth and TMJs (jaw joints) from destruction caused from grinding and/or clenching or in the treatment of TMJ disorders.

Dr. Freidell can suggest the best mouth guard for you.

Nightguards and Splints

Sports Mouth Guards

If you grind or clench your teeth (bruxism) at night, a special dental appliance — called a nightguard — may be fabricated to prevent tooth damage.

Bruxism is excessive grinding of the teeth and/or excessive clenching of the jaw. Bruxism is an oral parafunctional activity; i.e., not an activity related to normal function such as eating or talking. Bruxism is a common problem: reports of prevalence range from 8–31% in the general population.

Bruxism may cause minimal symptoms, and therefore people may not be aware of the condition. Several symptoms are commonly associated with bruxism, including hypersensitive teeth, aching jaw muscles, and headaches. Bruxism may cause tooth wear, and may even cause teeth to break and dental restorations (e.g. crowns and fillings) to be repeatedly lost or damaged.

Nightguards and splints are hard, acrylic mouthpieces that fit over the upper and/or lower teeth. They prevent the upper and lower teeth from coming together, lessening the effects of grinding and/or clenching the teeth and also places the lower jaw in its correct position which stabilizes the bite and jaw joints.

While nightguards are generally worn at night and reduce the effects of grinding and/or clenching, splints are primarily used in the treatment of TMJ disorders.

Dr. Freidell will discuss with you what type of mouth guard appliance you may need.

Sports Mouth guards should be used by anyone — both children and adults — who play contact sports such as football, boxing, soccer, ice hockey, basketball, lacrosse, field hockey, and martial arts. However, even those participating in noncontact sports (for example, gymnastics) and any recreational activity (for example, skateboarding, mountain biking) that might pose a risk of injury to the mouth would benefit from wearing a protective mouth guard.

Why Use a Mouth Guard When Playing Sports?

Because accidents can happen during any physical activity, the advantage of using a mouth guard during sports is that it can help limit the risk of mouth-related injuries to your lips, tongue, and soft tissues of your mouth. Mouth guards also help you avoid chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth, or even tooth loss.