Helmets, knee pads, shin guards…if you’re an avid athlete or the parent of one, you know the importance of proper protective gear. But did you know that up to 40 percent of all sports injuries involve the face? Protect your smile and your mouth with a comfortable, custom-molded mouthguard to dramatically reduce the risk of sports-related oral injury.
What is a Sports Mouth Guard?
A sports mouthguard is a comfortable piece of athletic gear that fits over your teeth and can help protect your smile as well as your lips, tongue, face, and jaw. New research indicates that sports mouth guards can even reduce the severity of concussions.
While hockey, boxing, football, and rugby players would obviously benefit from custom mouthguards, others, like bicyclists, weightlifters, and gymnasts, made the ADA’s list of athletes who need sports mouthguards. This may sound excessive, but studies show that 13 to 39 percent of all dental injuries are sports related. Because the face is an important part of a person’s image, self confidence, and sometimes success, it’s better to be safe than…toothless!
Types of Sports Mouth Guards
You may have seen ready-made mouthguards in a department or sporting goods store. These generic mouthguards are inexpensive and readily available. Unfortunately, because they are not custom-fitted, they may seem bulky and uncomfortable in your mouth. Ready-made mouthguards are secured by closed jaws, which means when an athlete wears a ready-made mouthguard, speaking and breathing may be difficult.
If you’re looking for something that is more custom fit to your mouth, you might consider mouth-formed mouthguards. Acrylic, shell liner mouthguards provide a comfortable and secure fit over your natural teeth. Unfortunately, many users report that this mouthguard can have an unpleasant odor or taste. It can also harden over time and lose its flexibility. Another type of mouth-formed mouthguard, the thermoplastic style, can be customized by heating it in water, then biting it. It will take on the shape of your bite. While these maintain their flexibility, they can feel bulky.
Custom Mouth Guards
The best solution, custom mouthguards are comfortable, practical, and protective. A dentist or lab technician creates the custom mouthguard after taking impressions of your teeth.
Before you purchase any custom mouthguard, talk to your dentist. Special mouthguards or mouth protectors are recommended for patients with braces, removable bridges or dentures, a protruding jaw, or a cleft palate.
If you have questions about sports mouthguards, call us. We’ll be happy to help you decide which type of mouthguard is best for you.