With winter comes a new season of competitive sports, such as rugby union and league, hockey, soccer and basketball. During any activity where contact with a player or equipment can occur (including leisure activities like skateboarding and bike riding), injuries to the head are not uncommon. And one that happens all too often are painful, disfiguring and expensive dental injuries that can result in time off work or school for recovery and extensive treatment.
Mouthguards help to cushion any blow to the face by minimising the risk of broken or lost teeth and injury to the tongue, lips and jaw. Any person who is involved in a sport or activity that presents risks of injury to the face should protect their teeth with a properly fitted mouthguard.
What types of mouthguards are available?
There are three different types of mouthguards available:
- Stock: chemists, sports shops and even grocery stores offer standard mouthguards starting at less than $10. Stock mouthguards are not designed to fit your specific teeth and jawline, so they can be bulky, uncomfortable and make breathing or talking difficult.
- Boil and bite: many sporting good stores and chemists also offer a range of boil and bite mouthguard options that are an economical solution for athletes. Boil and bite mouthguards are made of a thermoplastic material that is softened in boiling water and then placed in the mouth. The material shapes around your teeth upon pressure from your tongue or finger. Boil and bite mouthguards offer a better fit than stock mouthguards, but may not fully adapt to your bite.
- Custom-fitted: these mouthguards are designed by your dentist for you personally. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and then form a mouthguard mold over the model of your teeth or provide the design to a professional laboratory for production. This process allows you to make any slight adjustments to your mould to best suit you. A custom designed mouthguard may be more costly, however it fits comfortably to the teeth and jaw for optimum protection and is made of a thin material that offers easy airflow.
What is the right type of mouthguard for me?
Protecting your mouth is important in sports and activities that put your face at risk of injury. An effective mouthguard should cover your teeth from molar to molar, be comfortable to wear, durable, simple to clean, and should not restrict your airflow.
Most mouthguards cover your upper teeth only, however if you have braces or a fixed dental appliance on your lower teeth,it would be best to get a protective guard for both your upper and lower teeth.
Whether you wear a mouthguard as a soccer goalie, for football or any other sport, it is essential that you look at your sport’s policies to ensure the mouthguard you choose is compliant with their safety regulations.
For the best advice in regard to mouthguards make an appointment today to see Angela, Evan and the team at Profilo Dental.