A mouthguard (also known as a mouth protector, mouth piece or gumshield) is a protective device for the mouth that covers the teeth and gums to prevent and reduce injury to the teeth, arches, lips and gums.
Mouthguards are most often used to prevent injury in contact sports but other uses include treatment for bruxism (grinding and clenching) or TMD (temporal mandibular joint disorder; chronic pain by jaw hinge near ear), or as part of certain dental procedures, such as tooth bleaching or as a series of splints to be used to straighten your teeth.
Mouthguards are fabricated by the lab on clay models made from impressions taken of the upper and lower arches. Each impression takes about 1 minute to set and gives an accurate duplicate of the patient’s teeth positioning. Upon insertion of the mouthguard, the dentist will check the fit and adjust it as necessary.
Sports mouthguards are used where impacts to the face and jaw may cause harm. Mouthguards may also prevent or reduce harm levels of concussion in the event of an injury to the jaw. In many sports, the rules of the sport make their use compulsory, or local health laws demand them. Schools also often have rules requiring their use.