Regardless of age, all people who participate in any sport or activity where there is a risk of contact to the face, needs to wear a mouthguard to prevent dental injury.
The number of people being treated for dental trauma and injuries would be greatly reduced if more people wore correctly fitted custom mouthguards.
What does a mouthguard do?
The type of traumas and injuries sustained when participating in contact sport are; broken teeth, dislodged teeth, broken jaws, cut lips and tongue. A mouthguard reduces the impact of a blow to the mouth or face to assist in preventing or reducing the severity of any mouth or jaw injury.
Dental injuries have a negative impact in your life; they can result in time off school or work until you have recovered. There is also the financial impact associated when lengthy and expensive dental work is required to repair any injuries. Not to mention pain and possible disfigurement.
The cost of an injury to your teeth or jaw far exceeds the cost of a custom-fitted mouthguard.
When should a mouthguard be worn?
A mouthguard should be worn at all times when participating in any contact sport or activity, even during training, if there is a chance of a blow or contact to the face. Some suggested sports where a mouthguard is imperative are football (all codes), hockey, netball, basketball, baseball and even skateboarding and skiing, just to name a few.
Are all mouthguards the same?
No. There are many different types of mouthguards available, from cheap, over-the-counter mouthguards to mouthguards which are custom fitted by a dental professional. In a nutshell, you get what you pay for.
How is a custom fit mouthguard made?
Custom fit mouthguards can only be made by a dentist. An impression is taken using putty like material so that a plaster model of the teeth can be made. The mouthguard material is then sucked down using a special machine so that the mouthguard fits the teeth perfectly. A custom fit mouthguard will only fit the person it is made for.
Another benefit of having a dentist fit a mouthguard is that they will ensure the mouthguard is appropriate for your sport, as there are a few different types of custom fit mouthguards. Additionally a custom fit mouthguard:
- Will not fall when you open your mouth, allowing you to speak whilst wearing it.
- Is comfortable.
- Will not restrict breathing.
- Provides the highest level of protection available for your mouth when participating in contact sports or activities.
Why shouldn’t I buy an over-the-counter (boil and bite) mouthguard?
- They do not fit well.
- They are significantly less effective than custom fit mouthguards.
- They are uncomfortable.
- They do not stay in place when the mouth is open.
Most importantly, the ADA (Australian Dental Association) and Standards Australia, do not recommend over-the-counter or ‘boil and bite’ mouthguards. Studies have shown that wearing these types of mouthguards offers only slightly better protection than wearing no mouthguard at all.
How long does a custom fit mouthguard last?
The mouthguard only needs replacing if a child has new teeth come through or if it becomes damaged in any way.
It is important to have your dentist assess your mouthguard at every check-up, or at least before every new season to ensure optimal fit and protection.
To ensure longevity of your mouthguard:
- Rinse in cold water after every use.
- Store in a rigid plastic container.
- Keep away from high heat (such as prolonged periods in a hot car) as mouthguards will distort in high temperatures.
- Occasionally rinse your mouthguard in a mouthwash.
The money saved purchasing an over the counter or ’boil and bite’ mouthguard is not worth the high cost of extensive dental treatment to repair broken teeth or the pain and suffering, if the teeth can be saved at all…
How much does a mouthguard cost?
At The Happy Tooth a custom fit mouthguard costs $95.