Everything You Need to Know about  3D-Printed and Custom Made Mouthguards

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If you happen to play any type of sport, or suffer with issues such as bruxism (teeth grinding) or TMJ, you should seriously consider using a custom-made mouthguard for your health if you don’t already. 

Mouthguards not only protect the teeth from being damaged through grinding, they can also protect the teeth, mouth, and jaw during sports. Wearing a mouthguard while engaging in a sport or physical activity will help prevent dental emergencies and dental trauma, while also improving athletic performance. 

Despite stock and boil and bite mouth guard products proving to be fairly popular in the sporting world, if you’re serious about protecting your teeth, gums, tongue, mouth, and jaw, a custom made mouthguard or 3D-printed mouthguard made by your dentist, should be the way you go.

To help show why these products are so superior over generic, mass-produced mouthguards you can buy in any sporting goods store, here’s a look at everything you need to know about a custom designed mouthguard and 3D print mouthguard.


What are custom made mouthguards?

If you want a mouthguard that guarantees a perfect fit, maximum comfort, and max protection, having a custom made mouthguard by your dentist is the way to go.

Your dentist will examine your teeth and mouth and take impressions of your upper and lower teeth to make a mold for the mouthguard. The impressions will be sent to the dental lab where pro technicians will use them to create a custom made mouthguard using strong and comfortable materials.

Having a custom made mouthguard means that not only will it be strong, versatile, and durable, it will also be extremely comfortable and will offer maximum retention as it will almost adhere to your teeth.


What are 3D-printed mouthguards?

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Because of the advancements we’ve seen in modern technology over the years, 3D-printed mouthguards are now proving very popular indeed.

3D printing technology could potentially revolutionize how mouthguards are worn and produced. Many custom mouthguards in Australia are now produced using 3D printing technology. These allow better accuracy and enhanced levels of comfort and protection for the teeth, mouth, gums, and jaw.

First, the patient’s jaw is scanned using video technology, which in turn digitally captures every shape, curve, and crevice within the mouth and of the teeth. Next, using SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) technology, a fully customized mouthguard can be digitally printed to create a product that not only guarantees a perfect fit, but one which also meets all health, strength, and flexibility requirements.

If you’re looking for a custom mouth guard Melbourne, a 3D-printed mouthguard is certainly a very strong possibility that is definitely worth exploring.


How do 3D-printed mouthguards compare with a custom made mouthguard?

If you require a mouthguard, it doesn’t matter what you need it for, in an ideal world you should always visit your dentist and have them create a custom mouthguard, or a 3D-printed mouthguard for you.

While custom mouthguards in Australia are always better than boil and bite mouth guard products, many consider custom 3D-printed mouthguards to be even more superior.

3D-printed mouthguards can be produced quicker than customized mouthguards made in a lab, plus they’re even more accurate and offer more complex geometries in design. As far as downsides go however, they do tend to cost slightly more, and as the technology is so advanced, it is limited so not all dental practices will have it.

Custom made mouthguards however, are more affordable, are available from virtually all dental practices, and will typically offer more than enough comfort and protection for your orofacial region.


Safety and regulatory concerns of 3D-printed mouthguards

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As beneficial as 3D printed mouthguards can be, they aren’t without their risks and their possible drawbacks.

Here in Australia, 3D printing devices are regulated by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Association). The problem is that there are concerns that, as the technology progresses and advances, current regulations have not been able to keep up with the pace of innovation.

3D printing devices which qualify as custom-made, were deemed exempt from registration in the ARTG (Australian Registration of Therapeutic Goods) which meant that there was a concern that regulatory oversights could be an issue, especially as the devices advanced so much.

There are a series of changes on the way which would be very similar to those set out in the USA by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). This would ensure that all 3D printing devices and materials were deemed safe and that they met the necessary criteria in order for them to be used for medical purposes.

Again, if there are any concerns regarding the effectiveness and/or safety of 3D printed mouthguards, your dentist would be more than happy to have 3D printing custom-made mouthguards constructed on-site for you.


Why visit a dental professional for 3D-printed or custom made mouthguards?

Despite personal 3D printers now becoming more and more common in people’s homes, that does not mean that you should attempt to construct, or have constructed, a 3D-printed mouthguard or nightguard, by an unqualified individual.

Instead, you should always speak to a professional dental practice to discuss the possibility of a 3D printed mouthguard. This way, you’re guaranteed a regulated, safe, and efficient product, made from suitable and safe materials to the very highest of standards.

If you do require a mouthguard, rather than purchasing a stock mouthguard or a boil and bite mouth guard, and you don’t wish to go down the 3D printing route, or if it simply isn’t an option, a customizable mouthguard should be next on your list of priorities.

By speaking to your dentist you can have them assess you and recommend which type of mouthguard would be best for you. They can also work with you based upon your budget and your own personal circumstances.

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