The Role and Importance of Protective Guards in Dentistry

Oral health is a vital component of a person’s overall well-being, and proper care of the teeth and gums contributes to maintaining an optimal quality of life. One of the key practices in promoting dental health is protecting teeth from factors that can cause damage, such as bruxism (teeth grinding), excessive pressure or dental trauma. In this context, mouthguards have become an indispensable tool in dentistry.

What are protective mouthguards?

Guards are custom-made devices made of flexible and durable materials such as silicone or thermoplastic polymers. They are designed to fit snugly into the patient’s oral cavity, with the aim of providing protection against harmful factors that can damage teeth and surrounding structures. Guards are used in a variety of situations, and each type has its own specific role.

Teeth are some of the most important units of the oral cavity. They have a variety of roles, which is why the vast majority of patients look after their teeth, treat them and have regular check-ups to detect any early signs of damage.

Types of mouthguards and their role

  1. Bruxism guards: Bruxism is the habit of grinding teeth, especially while sleeping. This habit can cause excessive wear of tooth enamel, muscle pain and discomfort. Bruxism guards are designed to alleviate the harmful effects of this habit by absorbing shocks and evenly distributing pressure on the teeth.

  2. Sports protective goggles: For people who practice contact sports or strenuous physical activity, sports protective goggles are essential. They prevent dental trauma, reducing the risk of tooth fracture or damage to the gums and lips from hard impacts.

  3. Sleep apnea protective goggles: For patients with sleep apnea or breathing problems during sleep, specialized protective goggles can help keep the airway open, ensuring a regular flow of air and reducing episodes of breathlessness.

  4. Orthodontic mouthguards: For patients wearing fixed or mobile braces, mouthguards can be used to protect teeth and gums from friction or excessive pressure caused by the braces.

Benefits of wearing protective braces

  1. Preventing tooth wear: Protective braces reduce the wear of tooth enamel caused by bruxism or grinding, keeping teeth in a healthy condition and prolonging their life.

  2. Protection against trauma: Sports and sleep apnea mouthguards help prevent damage to teeth or surrounding structures from impact or sleep apnea.

  3. Comfort and adaptability: Protective mouthguards are designed to fit snugly in each patient’s oral cavity, ensuring long-term comfort and adaptability.

  4. Maintaining general health: Protecting teeth and surrounding structures not only contributes to oral health, but can also impact general health, as dental conditions can influence the cardiovascular and digestive systems.


The most important roles of teeth include:

  • Chewing – teeth help to grind food to ease its way to the lower parts of the digestive system.

  • Without the presence of teeth, which is common in edentulous patients, food will end up in the stomach with much too large a diameter and, over time, digestive disorders will develop.

  • Phonation – some consonants are pronounced with the tip of the tongue resting on the inside of the teeth, so the sounds come out clearer.

  • The teeth also regulate the amount of air that is emitted when phonating.

  • Aesthetics – for many patients, one of the most important roles of the teeth is aesthetic.

  • Therefore, few patients will notice that there is something wrong with their teeth especially if they are not in pain or lacking substance, most patients will contact their dentist if their aesthetics are affected.

Guards are devices designed to maintain the integrity of teeth, especially at times when they are at risk of injury.

Wearing a mouthguard prevents fractures and other damage to teeth. In direct contact sports, the wearing of mouthguards has become commonplace.


Wearing a mouthguard may be indicated in certain circumstances, such as:

  • Adults and children participating in contact sports such as football, basketball, boxing, American football.

  • Activities that children do in their free time, such as cycling in specially designed parks or skateboarding.

  • Bruxism sufferers are also advised to wear mouthguards to prevent night-time teeth grinding, which can damage teeth and the temporomandibular joint.

The use of mouthguards in the above-mentioned situations prevents the development of dental damage during sports activities and reduces tooth wear and joint pain in patients with bruxism.

The mouthguards can be of several types:

Universal – are purchased and can be used immediately afterwards, but do not fit well to oral structures.

  • Preformed – these are better than the previous ones for the simple fact that they can be easily adapted by placing them in warm water, in which case they change their initial conformation slightly, adjusting to some extent to the oral pattern.

  • Individual – they are made on the basis of an impression, on the basis of which the technician will make a mouthpiece that will adapt intimately to the patient’s oral structures.

The brackets can last for different periods of time, depending on certain parameters such as the patient’s age, bone development and the degree of stress on the bone.

In young patients, the mouthpiece should be replaced periodically in line with bone growth.

The braces, whether individual or universal, should fit the oral structures as well as possible and be comfortable for the patient to wear.


Guards are an essential component in modern dentistry, playing a significant role in maintaining dental health and the general well-being of patients. From preventing dental wear to protecting against trauma or sleep breathing problems, these customized devices demonstrate their versatility and importance in a wide range of situations. Seeing a dentist and getting a protective mouthguard can go a long way to maintaining a healthy smile and quality of life.

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