When to Wear a Mouth Guard

When to Wear a Mouth Guard

Mouthguards are recommended or even a requirement for some contact sports, especially for teen sports. A mouthguard protects the teeth, the inside of the mouth, and sometimes orthodontic appliances like braces. If a person were to sustain a blow to the face for any reason, the mouthguard can sometimes prevent an emergency trip to the dentist. Keep reading to learn more about mouthguards and night guards, and when they should be worn.

Different Types of Mouthguards

It should be noted that most types of mouthguards are not covered by insurance, since they are not considered “medically necessary.” Nightguards that are prescribed by your dentist are an exception to this. 

Here are some of the different types of mouthguards available.

Custom-Fitted Dental Mouthguards

These are fashioned by your dentist’s office after making a mold or a 3D model of your teeth. Because they are custom-made, they provide a perfect fit for your teeth, unlike many of the other types of mouthguards. A custom-fitted mouthguard is recommended to be worn by anyone participating in a sport that carries a high risk of being struck in the face, even inadvertently. Examples include football, hockey, lacrosse, or boxing. Custom mouthguards are fashioned from the highest quality materials and provide the best protection.

Some sports require athletes with braces to use a custom-fitted mouthguard from a dentist. The USA Boxing Association, for example, won’t allow any athlete with braces to participate in a bout unless they’re wearing a custom-fitted mouthguard.

“Boil and Bite” Mouthguards

These are an over-the-counter type of mouthguard that can be purchased at many pharmacies and stores. A specialized type of plastic is heated at home and then the wearer bites down on the plastic to shape it. These kits are more affordable than a professional dental mouthguard but don’t provide the same level of protection. These also can’t be worn with braces.

Stock Mouthguards

Some companies make stock one-size-fits-all mouthguards. While they are high quality and provide better protection than a boil-and-bite mouthguard, they’re not for everyone. They are unlikely to provide a perfect fit the way that a dental mouthguard does.


A nightguard is a specialized dental appliance that is prescribed to help prevent bruxism, or teeth grinding while asleep. These are usually custom-fitted and covered by insurance. They can be worn at night and taken out during the day.

Benefits of Mouthguards

Your teeth can act as cutting instruments if you take a blow to the face during a contact sport. Mouthguards protect the teeth, tongue, lips, and insides of the cheeks from taking damage during a collision. Without a mouthguard, you could run the risk of a chipped or broken tooth, or an injury inside the mouth that requires stitches.

Contact Ideal Dental for Custom Mouthguards

If you have a teen athlete who needs a custom mouthguard, or you need one for yourself for a contact sport, get in touch with Ideal Dental. Find your local Ideal Dental office today to schedule an appointment.