Properly diagnosed, designed, and custom fabricated mouth guards are essential in the prevention of athletic oral/facial injuries.
Dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial injury sustained during participation in sports.
It is estimated by the American Dental Association (ADA) that mouthguards prevent approximately 200,000 injuries each year in high school and collegiate football alone.
Because accidents can happen during any physical activity, the advantage of using a mouthguard during sports is that it can help limit the risk of mouth-related injuries to your lips, tongue, and soft tissues of your mouth. Mouthguards also help you avoid chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth, or even tooth loss.
A properly fitted mouthguard must be protective, comfortable, resilient, tear resistant, odorless, tasteless, not bulky, cause minimal interference to speaking and breathing, and (possibly the most important criteria) have excellent retention, fit, and sufficient thickness in critical areas.
Unfortunately, the word “mouthguard” is universal and generic, and includes a large range and variety of products, from “over the counter” (stock, boil and bite) models bought at the sporting goods stores to professionally manufactured and dentist prescribed custom made mouthguards.
- Stock Mouthguard – 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 and talking difficult, and they provide little or no protection. Dentists do not recommend their use.
- Boil and Bite Mouthguard – also can be bought at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. The “boil and bite” mouthguard 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 tongue pressure. These mouthguards often lack proper extensions and repeatedly do not cover all the back teeth. Certain thicknesses and extensions are necessary for proper mouthguard protection.
Your athlete deserves the best quality of care in injury prevention and stock, boil and bite mouthguards DO NOT provide this quality.
Custom Made Mouthguard – The custom made mouthguards are designed by your dentist and are the most satisfactory of all types of mouth protectors. They fulfill all the criteria for adaptation, retention, comfort, and stability of material. They interfere the least with speaking and studies have shown that the custom made mouthguard has virtually no effect on breathing and speaking.
Yes. Since an injury to the face could damage braces or other fixed appliances, a properly fitted mouthguard may be particularly important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. Your dentist or orthodontist can determine the mouthguard that will provide the best protection for your unique mouth work. An important reminder: do not wear any orthodontic retainers or other removable appliance during any contact sports or during any recreational activities that put your mouth at risk for injury.
Dr. Cowden recommends and is a proud provider of Custom Made Mouthguards for Rio Rancho High Football Teams.