Nightguard vs. Sports Guards

What is the difference between a nightguard and a sports guard that you can buy at most sporting good stores?

A nightguard is used to protect the teeth and bone from clenching and grinding during sleep.  This does not stop the habit of teeth clenching and grinding, but it helps prevent possible damage to your teeth.  The nightguard is an oral appliance that a patient wears during sleep to help absorb the force from clenching and grinding.

A sports mouth guard can be purchased at most sporting goods stores.  Store-bought mouth guards cannot be altered and require you to keep your mouth clenched for maximum protection.  PlaySafe sports guards can be made in our office.  This type of sports guard is made using an exact duplication of your mouth and will stay in place with no effort.

Both a nightguard and a sports mouth guard are meant to protect teeth, but they protect in different ways.  A nightguard functions by protecting the teeth surfaces and bone from being worn down from constant grinding and clenching.  A sports mouth guard is primarily worn to protect the teeth and mouth in case of sudden, hard impact.  While a nightguard is made from durable hard plastic to withstand grinding over a long period of time, a sport mouth guard is usually made from a softer material that can absorb the force of sudden impact.  And while a dental nightguard only needs to cover the biting surface of your teeth, a sports mouth guard should cover your teeth including your gums.

It is safe to say that purchasing a store-bought guard is a compromised choice.  The best solution is to have a professional nightguard or sports mouth guard made for optimum protection of your teeth.