While you can buy mouth guards at many stores, it's best to get one from your dentist. Store-bought mouth guards may not fit well and can actually do more harm than good. Dentists can make a mold of your teeth so the mouth guard fits snugly and comfortably.
Mouth guards go by many names. Teeth guard, night guard, occlusal guard, bite guard, and mouth protector are some common names for mouth guards. They are typically made from soft, pliable materials such as latex or silicone. Custom mouth guards from dentists are made based on an imprint of your bite to ensure a comfortable fit while you sleep.
The American Dental Association (ADA) advises patients wearing orthodontic appliances such as braces and retainers to ensure their dentists approve their mouth guards. The ADA also sets the following standards for an ideal mouth guard.
It should be fitted correctly to the wearer's mouth and precisely adapted to their oral structures
The mouth guard must cover all remaining teeth on one arch
It should be made of strong material approved by the FDA
It should be able to absorb high-impact energy to reduce or limit transmitted forces upon impact
It should have a comfortable and secure fit
It should not cause allergic or toxic reactions
Mouth guards should be relatively easy to clean
In addition, custom mouth guards are made from high-quality materials, so they'll last longer and provide better protection than a store-bought mouth guard. Custom-made mouth guards can be more expensive than other types, but they are worth the investment if you play sports regularly or have bruxism.