Knowing how to prevent injuries is important if you participate in organised sports or other recreational activities. When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of an athlete’s standard equipment from an early age. In fact, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. Mouthguards help buffer an impact or blow that otherwise could cause broken teeth, jaw injuries or cuts to the lip, tongue or face. Mouthguards also may reduce the rate and severity of concussions.
Mouthguards are used most commonly in contact sports, such as boxing, football, hockey and lacrosse, but findings show that even in noncontact sports like basketball, gymnastics or skateboarding, mouthguards help prevent mouth and jaw injuries. There are three types of mouthguards: the readymade, or stock, mouthguard; the mouth-formed “boil-and-bite” mouthguard; and the custom mouthguard made by a dentist.
Choose a mouthguard that
- is resilient and tear-resistant
- fits properly and is comfortable
- is easy to clean
- does not restrict speech or breathing
Your dentist can make a custom mouthguard for you or your child that is comfortable and offers superior protection. Because treating a sports related dental injury can cost thousands of dollars, a custom mouthguard is a worthwhile investment.
The Custom Mouthguard – What to Expect
If you decide a custom mouthguard is the best option for you, then your dentist will take an impression or a 3D scan of your teeth to create a model. This model will be used to accurately assess your mouth and design a uniquely fitted mouthguard. Once your mouthguard is fitted your dentist will advise you how to care for it properly. A custom mouthguard may need to be replaced if it has been damaged, or if you have new teeth since your mouthguard was first fitted.
Schedule regular dental checkups and visit your dentist before each playing season and remember to bring your mouthguard to each dental visit.