Reduce Sports Injuries with Mouth Guards
Reduce Sports Injuries with Mouth Guards
A mouthguard is a soft piece of plastic molded to fit over the teeth of the upper jaw. Without one, anyone who participates in physical activity increases their likelihood of an injury to the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth.
The Dangers of Not Using a Mouthguard
For more than half a century, the American Dental Association has recommended the use of a properly-fitted mouthguard to reduce the risk of oral injury while participating in sports. Although mouthguards do not guarantee someone will not sustain an oral injury, athletes become 60 times more likely to get hurt when not wearing one. Hard hits and flying projectiles can all translate into a nightmare for the teeth and jaw.
A custom-fitted mouthguard, worn over the top teeth, protects the teeth from the surrounding soft tissue, absorbs shock, and stabilizes the jaw during a hit. Consider many risks associated with not wearing a mouth guard, including broken or lost teeth, jaw injuries, lacerated lips and cheeks, and damage to orthodontic appliances.
▣ Broken or Lost Teeth
Teeth, although hard, can break. Playing sports without a proper mouthguard leaves the teeth at risk of taking a hard blow without any cushion. This can cause teeth to crack, fracture, or even fall out completely. A cracked or damaged tooth signifies a severe dental emergency.
▣ Jaw Injuries
Jaw injuries commonly occur in sports. Mouthguards prevent or greatly reduce their seriousness by cushioning the jaw and reducing the amount of shock it takes during a hit. Teeth, designed to chew food, can also do damage to the soft tissues of the mouth when left uncovered. A mouthguard can help protect the mouth from punctures or lacerations.
▣ Damage to Orthodontic Appliances
Braces or other orthodontia present a unique challenge that only a custom-fit mouthguard done at a dentist’s office can address. This type of mouthguard can be made for the upper and lower teeth. It will not only protect the teeth but also prevent the metal wires and brackets from potentially ripping into the soft tissues of the mouth.
“Hard hits and flying projectiles can all translate into a nightmare for the teeth and jaw.”
▣ The Risks of Store-Bought Alternatives
Not all sports mouthguards are created equally. A custom mouth guard fitted by a dentist will provide the most protection as it offers a tailored fit for the unique shape of the upper teeth. This level of smile security cannot be matched by a generic mouthguard found at a sporting goods store.
Stock and boil and bite mouthguards take the "one size fits all" approach to protecting the teeth and jaws. As a result, they remain uncomfortable and make it difficult for players to breathe or talk. Generic mouthguards tear easier, do not fit correctly, and consist of a weaker material, which are not enough when playing contact sports.
An investment in a custom-fit mouthguard also represents an investment in an athlete’s long-term oral health. The materials used remain durable, yet still allow the athlete to breathe and talk with ease. However, using a temporary mouth guard while waiting for a custom one remains better than not wearing one at all.
“Stock and boil and bite mouthguards take the ‘one size fits all’ approach to protecting the teeth and jaws.”
▣ Long-Term Effects of Sports Injuries to Teeth
Over a quarter of dental-related injuries happen while playing sports. An oral-facial injury rarely life-threatening, can be extremely painful and require additional attention as the athlete ages. To avoid long-term oral health problems after a sports-related tooth injury, seek treatment immediately.
Not wearing a mouthguard significantly increases the risks for serious dental injury while playing sports. Hits to the mouth can result in the loss of a tooth, or the need for a root canal to avoid infection. Missing teeth and the subsequent replacement, fractures and cracks will need special attention for the rest of an athlete’s life. A custom-fitted mouthguard offers the first line of defense.
“An oral-facial injury, rarely life-threatening, can be extremely painful and require additional attention as the athlete ages.”
▣ A Better Fit and Design
A mouthguard designed and created in a dental office represents the most durable and protective option. Our dentist will evaluate an athlete’s individual needs and customize a mouthguard. This can include providing extra space for growing teeth and jaws — something that just cannot be duplicated with a generic mouthguard.
First, the dentist creates the impression of the teeth that will be used to create the actual mouthguard. From there, the dentist trims, polishes and checks for the proper fit. A properly fitting mouthguard offers a protective, odorless and tasteless option with sufficient thickness in critical areas.
Each mouthguard, tailored to the individual athlete, offers thickness and design to promote comfort and sufficient protection. Thanks to its quality construction, this type of mouthguard can stand up to the rigors of any contact sport. Parents can rest easy knowing they have provided their athlete with the right product to protect their mouth and teeth.
“A mouthguard designed and created in a dental office offers the most durable and protective option.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the dangers of not using a mouthguard?
What is wrong with the mouthguards I can just buy from the store?
What makes a custom-fit mouthguard better?
How long does a custom mouthguard last?
How much do custom-made mouthguards cost?
Family Dental Terminology
▣ Custom Impression
Custom impression involves using trays to create an exact replica of the patient’s teeth before creating the necessary restoration to enhance the overall experience.
A dentist, also known as a dental surgeon, is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity.
▣ Injection-Molded Mouthguards
Injection-Molded Mouthguards help to create a much more specific fit with a type of molding material that fills available space instead of requiring a patient to boil the mouthguard in hot water.
▣ Laminated Pressure-Formed Mouthguards
Laminated pressure-formed mouthguards requires a process that involves applying high heat and pressure to form a mouthguard that meets the needs of the patient.
▣ Mandible Fracture
A mandible fracture is a fracture in the lower jaw that breaks through the mandibular bone and is normally a result of trauma.
▣ Oral Trauma
Oral trauma is any form of trauma or force that results in an injury of the mouth or teeth. Oral trauma can occur after an accident, injury or disease.
Occlusion describes the mandibular and maxillary rows of teeth meeting when the patient bites down. If a patient does not have a healthy bite, they are struggling with malocclusion.
An overjet is a bite orientation that results from the maxillary central incisors (top center teeth) protruding over the mandibular central incisors (bottom front teeth); this may also be known as “buck teeth” by patients.
▣ Storage Modulus
The storage modulus is the temperature at which we can store certain elastic materials in dental composite resins.
▣ Vacuum Formed Mouthguard
A vacuum formed mouthguard involves customizing the mouthguard to match a mold of the individual patient’s teeth for a perfect fit.