In the course of playing sports, controlled forces, such as punches; collisions; or falls, may be directed towards the face. After impacting the face or its surrounding structures, these forces can cause injuries. Injuries include tears, fracture, dislocation, concussion, and/or syncope. A mouthguard is a device worn on the teeth and gums to protect the lips, teeth, and gums and minimalize injury. The use of mouthguards in facial injury-prone sports is important for the protection of not only the teeth, but also other facial structures. The American Dental Association recommends the use of custom mouthguards while playing the following sports: basketball, boxing, acrobats, field hockey, ice hockey, gymnastics, football, handball, martial arts, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, roller hockey, racquetball, surfing, shot putting, skiing, skateboarding, skydiving, wrestling, squash, volleyball, water polo, and weight-lifting. Peninsula Family Dental Center concurs with this recommendation, and we support wearing a mouthguard to prevent facial injuries while participating in recreational activities.
Stock mouthguards come in fixed sizes, which often causes them to be ill-fitting. However, they are inexpensive and can be bought in many pharmacies, retail stores, and sporting goods stores. They are usually bulky and need to be clenched between the teeth to be kept in place. They also interfere with breathing and speaking. They frequently cause discomfort and irritation. While being worn, they still allow for tooth movement, which does not make them the best mouthguards.
Boil and Bite Mouthguards
These are also inexpensive mouthguards that are sold in many drugstores. They need to be boiled in hot water for several seconds before being transferred to cold water or cooled before they are worn. This way they soften so they can easily fit onto the teeth. In the mouth, they need to be adjusted with the fingers and tongue to fit. Although thinner than stock mouthguards, they are still bulky and make breathing and talking difficult.
Unlike the boil and bite mouthguards and the stock mouthguards which are ready-to-wear mouthguards, the custom-fitted mouthguards are individualized mouthguards designed and built by our dental professional to suit the shape and size of your teeth. They are made of a thermoplastic polymer that is placed over a model of your teeth. This gives the perfect fit and maximizes protection for your mouth, its surrounding structures, and your face in general. Our dental professional will usually only make upper mouthguards but can also make a mouthguard for your lower teeth if required or requested. As part of their good qualities, custom-fitted mouthguards do not impede speech or breathing. Easy breathing means sufficient oxygen is available for the maximum performance of athletes. They are not as bulky as the stock mouthguards and are thus more comfortable.
Individuals with braces can also use mouthguards. They can use the dual arch protector. Be aware that this mouthguard is more difficult to breathe and speak with. In addition, children can also wear mouthguards. However, since custom-fitted mouthguards are fabricated based on the impression made, for every tooth your child loses, the same mouthguard cannot be reshaped. The impression of the lost tooth will be unoccupied when the mouthguard is worn until it is replaced by the adult tooth, at which time a new mouthguard will be needed.
Mouthguards cushion the face against blows and prevent injuries to the mouth, face, and brain. They also prevent damage to braces and other orthodontic appliances. Children and adults should use mouthguards during sports or recreational activities that pose a risk of facial injury. Protecting your teeth with a mouthguard is cheaper than treating dental injuries. Obtain your durable custom-fitted mouthguard at Peninsula Family Dental Center today. Please call (907) 283-9125.