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Molly Maloof, MD

Director of Clinical Content


hello, i just got fitted for a mouth guard.

dentist stated you will wear it for lower.

does it matter if its upper or lower, should i get both or just one?

will lower protect the top and vice versea.?
  • Male | 36 years old

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Featured Answer

6 UpVoted this answer James P. Tasto, DDS Dentist, San Diego
If the Appliance is a mouthguard worn to protect your teeth while playing sports- It needs to be an upper - However if the appliance is an Occlusal Guard- and you are wearing it due to clenching and grinding or pain in your jaw joints- a lower Occlusal Guard is usually recommended.
Daniel Hill
3 UpVoted this answer
so long as you have a piece of plastic wearing in between your teeth instead of tooth against tooth, it really doesn't matter that much. sort of patient preference. there are specific indications for upper vs lower but for majority of people it doesn't matter. The key to nightguards is that the BITE is not different from your normal bite when you wear it. If the bite is off when you wear a dental nightguard, your teeth / jaw will hurt BECAUSE of inflammation of the periodontal ligament and inflammation/soreness in the muscles trying to position your teeth differently. Bite has to be right!
2 UpVoted this answer
This sounds like the classic case of being told you need a guard but not understanding why it's recommended. Did your dentist explain what her/his observations were and why a guard might help? Did they take the time to educate you about guards and their use? If not, your guard will likely end up in the drawer and after a while your teeth will shift just enough that it will be too tight and uncomfortable to wear. Guards, in most cases, aren't something that need to be put in place immediately. Your dental office is doing you a disservice if you aren't being educated about why this is recommended for you and if you aren't being allowed time to process this and to decide if this is something you want and are ready to wear. The questions you ask are good ones, and of course we don't always think of questions like these until we've been able to think things over. I hope you don't feel like you were sold something you're not sure you needed.
Gregory G. Zimmer
1 UpVoted this answer
What is you mouthguard for . For sports, one usually wants to protect the upper teeth. As you are 36, I am assuming that this is for a TMD issue. in these cases, I find the lowers are tolerated much better.
1 UpVoted this answer
It depends what purpose your preventive mouthguard will be used for. Your dentist will recommend an upper or a lower, and one arch should be appropriate in most cases and will be recommended by your dentist. Rarely do I have patients alternate between an upper and lower, and these cases were primarily to treat a TMJ issue and to guard teeth during episodes of grinding and clenching at night. Be sure to understand and go through how and when to properly use and care for your mouth guard when you get it delivered. Be sure to follow up with our dentist too if you experience any discrepancy or discomfort in wearing your mouth guard.
1 UpVoted this answer
Do you get fitted for a mouth guard or a night guard? If you got fitted for a lower mouth guard to be worn during contact sports, then an upper should have been made. If you got fitted for a night guard to wear while you sleep than it really does not matter between an upper and a lower, but more and more dentists are using lower instead of upper these days.
James P. Tasto
1 UpVoted this answer
Usually one is enough, either top or bottom. Yes, one will protect both of your arches.
1 UpVoted this answer
One arch is enough. I leave it up to patient if upper or lower. Personally I prefer a lower
Alvaro Lazo
Mouth Guard is to protect teeth from damage when playing sports,As upper teeth overlap the lower teeth in most cases they are more prone to initial contact.As such most mouth guards are made for upper.
Vinay Jerath
I find that the lower is more comfortable and increases ones compliance with wearing it. A properly made mouthguard will protect both arches.