All sporting activities have an associated risk of facial injuries due to falls, collisions with players, devices, and hard surfaces. Mouth guards are coverings worn over teeth, and often used to protect teeth during sports. The risk of an facial injury was 1.6-1.9 times higher when a mouth guard was not worn.
We have added state of the art vacuum equipment to allow us to process two layer custom mouth guards. I am so excited to be able to provided this added level of protection of our sports orientated patients.
There are three types of mouth guards:
1. Stock mouth protectors are pre-formed and come ready to wear. They are inexpensive and can be bought at most sporting goods and department stores. However, little can be done to adjust their fit, they are bulky, make breathing and talking difficult, and they provide little or no protection. Dentists do not recommend their use.
2. Boil and bite mouth protectors also can be bought at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. The “boil and bite” mouth guard is made from thermoplastic material. It is placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure. Studies show there is no difference in protection whether a boil and bite guard is worn or not.
3. Custom-fitted mouth protectors are individually designed and made in a dental office. First, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and a mouth guard is then molded over the model using a special material. Due to the use of the special material and because of the extra time and work involved, this custom-made mouth guard is more expensive than the other types, but it provides the most comfort and protection.
Generally, mouth guards cover your upper teeth only, but in some instances (such as if you wear braces or another fixed dental appliance on your lower jaw), your dentist will make a mouth guard for the lower teeth as well. Your dentist can suggest the best mouth guard for you. An effective mouth guard should be comfortable, resist tears, be durable and easy to clean, and should not restrict your breathing or speech.
Who Needs a Mouth Guard?
Mouth guards should be used by anyone — both children and adults — who play contact sports such as football, boxing, soccer, ice hockey, basketball, lacrosse, and field hockey. However, even those participating in non-contact sports (for example, gymnastics) and any recreational activity (for example, skateboarding, mountain biking) that might pose a risk of injury to the mouth would benefit from wearing a protective mouth guard.
Why Use a Mouth Guard When Playing Sports?
Because accidents can happen during any physical activity, the advantage of using a mouth guard during sports is that it can help limit the risk of mouth-related injuries to your lips, tongue, and soft tissues of your mouth. Mouth guards also help you avoid chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth, or even tooth loss.
Can I Wear a Mouth Guard if I Wear Braces?
Yes. Since an injury to the face could damage braces or other fixed appliances, a properly fitted mouth guard may be particularly important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. Your dentist or orthodontist can determine the mouth guard that will provide the best protection for your unique mouth work. An important reminder: do not hgduring any recreational activities that put your mouth at risk for injury.
There are studies that show there is a strong possibility that wearing custom made mouth guards reduce the chance of a concussion if there is a head injury during a sporting activity. The most recent studies draw conclusions that there is a significant advantage to a custom made guard over the boil and bite guards. The amount of protection to both the teeth and the head is far greater. Some studies go as far as drawing a conclusion that the boil and bite guards are as effective as having no guard at all. We strongly believe there is no substitute for offering the athletes the maximum protection to concussions and oral facial injuries. All it takes is one blow to cause an avoidable injury. Now have a simple way to minimize that possibility.