A mouth guard is a flexible appliance that is worn in the athletic and recreational activities to protect teeth from trauma. The dental profession unanimously supports the use of mouth guards in a variety of sports activities.
Who needs a mouth guard?
Anytime there is strong chance for contact with other participants or hard surfaces it is advisable to wear a mouth guard. Mouth guards should be used by everyone --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 noncontact sports (for example, gymnastics) and any recreational activity (example skate boarding or 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 during sports?
A mouth guard can prevent serious injuries such as broken teeth, jaw fractures, cerebral hemorrhageg and neck injuries by helping to avoid situations where the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw. Mouth guards are effective in moving soft tissue in the oral cavity away from the teeth, preventing lacerations and bruising of the lips and cheeks, especially for those who wear othodontic appliances. They may also reduce the severity and incidence of concussions.
There are several different types of mouth guards:
- Stock mouth protectors are preformed and come ready to wear.They are inexpensive and can be bought at most sporting good stores and department stores. However, little can be done to adjust their fit, they are bulky, make breathing difficult and talking difficult, and they provide little or no protection.
- Boil and bite mouth protectors also can be bought at many sporting good stores and may offer a better fit that 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 tounge pressure. The down side to these mouth guards are if you are not careful they can cause burns to the mouth when you are trying to make them and they can be ill fitting if not done exactly the right way.
- Custom-fitted mouth protectors are individually designed and made in the dental office or a professional laboratory. Here at our office we have the means to make them right here in the office and it only takes 2-3 days. We take an impression of your teeth and a mouth guard is then molded over the model using a special material. The custom made mouth guard provides the most comfort and the most protection.