As we approach the fall sports season, you may be looking into a mouthguard for yourself or your children. Studies report approximately one third of orofacial injuries result from sports trauma. As dental professionals, we are asked about the types of appliances available and the benefits of their use. The American Dental Association recommends wearing a mouthguard for many sports such as rugby, football, baseball, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, hockey and more.
Why Wear a Mouthguard?
Athletes involved in contact sports have a 10% chance of orofacial injury over the course of a season, and is 6000% more likely to sustain injury to the teeth when not wearing a protective mouthguard. Mouthguards provide protection to an athlete’s teeth and jaw preventing injuries such as bruises and lacerations of the cheeks, lips, and tongue from impacting teeth. They also provide lower jaw support which prevents concussions resulting from the mandible receiving outside forces causing impact in the jaw joint at the base of the skull which transmit trauma to the brain. Teeth are also cushioned and protected from the force of trauma by spreading the redistribution of the force.
Injury prevention is the best and least costly way to protect ourselves while playing sports. Concussions can require costly imaging procedures and follow-up visits and replacing lost or broken teeth can cost thousands to tens-of-thousands of dollars over a lifetime. A well made mouthguard is a fraction of these costs. There are three types of athletic mouthguards which provide different levels of protection.
Types of Mouthguards Available Ashland OR
Stock mouthguards are least costly and are purchased at a sporting goods store for off-the-shelf use. They offer the least protection as the fit is generic and can become a breathing or choking hazard if the wearer becomes unconscious from injury.
Boil-and-bite guards are most commonly used and are also purchased at a sporting goods store. The appliance is fitted by heating in boiling water and molded to the teeth – often resulting in a better fit but minimally better support for the jaw and protection.
Finally, a custom made athletic guard can be fabricated through your dental office. A highly accurate mold of the teeth is taken and the guard is fabricated by using a layered and pressure-formed material with appropriate thickness and support of posterior teeth. These have the added benefit to be fabricated with names and school colors included upon request. Interestingly, there have been reports of athletes performing at a higher level due to stability and comfort in the jaw along with improved breathing.
We invite you to contact us if you have any further questions regarding mouthguards, or any of our services here at White Dental Studio!
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Post written by: Dr. Brandon White, owner dentist at White Dental Studio in Ashland, OR