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Mouth Guards

Individuals participating in sports that carry a significant risk of injury are strongly advised to wear a mouth protector. While we often associate contact sports like football and hockey with dental injuries, it is important to recognize that other sports, including basketball, baseball, gymnastics, and volleyball, also pose risks to both teeth and gum tissues. In fact, nearly half of sports-related mouth injuries occur in basketball and baseball.

Wearing a helmet is essential in preventing serious injuries such as concussions, cerebral hemorrhages, unconsciousness, jaw fractures, and neck injuries. Helmets help to avoid situations where the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw, mitigating potential harm.

Mouth guards play a vital role in protecting the oral cavity. They effectively move soft tissues away from the teeth, reducing the risk of laceration and bruising of the lips and cheeks. This is especially crucial for individuals who wear orthodontic appliances such as braces.

Mouth protectors are typically designed to cover the upper teeth, providing cushioning against blows to the face and minimizing the chances of broken teeth and injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth. For individuals with braces or fixed dental appliances on the lower jaw, mouth protectors are available to protect those teeth as well.

Properly fitted mouth protectors are particularly important for those who wear braces or have fixed bridge work.

A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other orthodontic appliances. Mouth protectors also act as a barrier between the braces and the cheeks or lips, reducing the risk of soft tissue injuries. In some cases, your dentist or orthodontist may recommend using a mouth protector on the lower teeth if you have braces on both the upper and lower teeth. It is important to note that removable appliances, such as retainers, should not be worn during contact sports.

By wearing a well-fitted mouth protector during sports activities, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of dental injuries and protect their oral health. It is advisable to consult with a dental professional to ensure the proper selection and fit of a mouth protector for optimal effectiveness.

Types of mouth guards

There are three main types of mouth protectors available:

  1. Stock mouth protectors: These mouth protectors are pre-formed and come ready to wear. They are inexpensive but often do not provide a proper fit. Due to their generic shape, they can be bulky and may cause difficulties with breathing and talking.

  2. Boil and bite mouth protectors: These mouth protectors can be purchased at sporting goods stores and offer a better fit compared to stock mouth protectors. To use them, they need to be softened in water and then inserted into the mouth. By biting down on the mouth protector, it adapts to the shape of your mouth. However, it is important to carefully follow the instructions to achieve a good fit. If not used correctly, they may result in a poor-fitting mouth protector.

  3. Custom-fitted mouth protectors: These mouth protectors are individually made by your dentist to provide a personalized fit. While they are more expensive than stock or boil and bite mouth protectors, they offer the best fit and protection. Custom-fitted mouth protectors are designed specifically for your mouth, ensuring optimal comfort and coverage. Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth to create a mouth protector that fits your unique dental structure.

While stock and boil and bite mouth protectors are readily available options, custom-fitted mouth protectors offer the highest level of comfort and protection. They are particularly recommended for individuals involved in high-risk sports or those who have specific dental needs. Consulting with your dentist will help determine the most suitable type of mouth protector based on your individual requirements.

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