Ensuring you have every means to prevent injury to your teeth is what we strive for and we believe it’s important for them to have proper protection from damage that can be sustained from your participation in physical activities and sports. This is why our office gives you the option to look into getting a sports guard for your teeth.
Sports Guards and Their Importance
Mouth guards, sports guards, and mouth protectors are all different names for a device that is worn over your teeth and meant to protect them from blows to the head and face. Numerous activities such as basketball, football, soccer, boxing skateboarding, skating, hockey, baseball, gymnastics, mountain biking and more might result in an injury that could be minimized by the presence of a mouth protector. Typically, these guards are worn over the upper teeth and are made to protect against injuries such as cut lips, broken teeth, and other damage to your mouth. The reason why they are worn on the upper teeth is that those stick out more and are consequently more susceptible to damage or injury.
It is important to note that the use of an oral appliance may cause some side effects. These include excessive saliva, joint pain, facial muscle pain, bite changes, and dental discomfort. However, most of these effects are considered minor and are generally considered less problematic in the face of conditions or circumstances that require the use of an oral appliance. In this case, you might personally weigh these side effects against the high possibility of sustaining an injury during physical activities.
Mouth guards should be comfortable, strong, and tear-resistant and fit properly without restricting your speech or breathing. They fall into three different categories: Custom-made, boil and bite, and stock.
Custom-made mouth protectors are designed with you specifically in mind! This is done in our office and is likely to be the most comfortable and offer the best protection. This is because our team will make an impression of your teeth and craft the mouth guard atop a model of them. While these guards are the most expensive, their perfect fit makes them the most desirable and the best choice overall.
The next type, boil and bite, come in pre-formed shapes that can be changed by boiling the mouth guard in water and then biting into the warm plastic. Doing so creates a customized fit better than simply relying on the stock shape and they can be found in most sporting goods stores. Although they offer a better fit than stock mouth guards, it’s important to read the instructions carefully to avoid one that fits poorly.
Lastly, there are stock mouth guards. These are the least expensive option and come pre-formed, unable to be altered. However, because of their pre-formed shape, they don’t fit well, are rather bulky, and may make breathing and talking a challenge. Of all three, we recommend custom-made for the best fit and protection from future sport-related injuries.
How Long Should They Last?
Athletes are encouraged to replace mouth guards after every season; this is due to the fact that they can wear down over time, which means they are less efficient. In the case of adolescents, it’s crucial to replace them frequently, as their mouths continue to grow and their teeth develop into their adulthood. If you play several sports, it would be best to get a new guard every six-month checkup to avoid any ineffectiveness brought on by wear-and-tear.
In between games and use, mouth guards should be kept properly cleaned. We encourage you to do so by rinsing before and after each use and brushing them with a toothbrush and toothpaste – as you might a retainer (do not, however, wear a retainer under a guard or while playing sports or related activities). Don’t forget to bring your mouth guard with you during your dental check-ups for evaluation and professional cleaning by our staff. Additionally, storage for the mouth protector should be sturdy and ventilated to allow for drying and avoid the growth of bacteria. And lastly, never leave the guard in the sun or hot water, always store away from pets or places where it is more likely to get damaged, and check consistently for signs of wear or tear or the need for replacement.
If there is anything you’d like to know more information about or any questions you may have, contact our office today!