Let’s talk about sports mouth guards
Wearing a sports mouth guard is crucial because it:
- protects against soft tissue injuries
- protects against jaw joint injuries
- cushions teeth against impact
- helps prevent neck and jaw injuries
- may help to reduce concussion (brain trauma)
The bottom line is, if you play a contact sport, you risk serious damage to your teeth if you don’t wear a mouth guard!
Sports like cricket, baseball, and hockey can cause life-long damage to the tooth that is expensive and painful, not to mention the aesthetic dilemma of having a missing tooth!
Broken jaws, fractured, cracked or avulsed teeth, cut lips and tongues are just some of the serious sporting injuries that mouth guards prevent against.
While sports like rugby union, rugby league, AFL, hockey and boxing are more likely to result in an injury, other non-contact sports like cricket, basketball, netball, touch football, skateboarding and soccer, carry a real risk of accidental collision, resulting in dental trauma.
How a sports mouth guard works
A custom-fitted mouth guard works by absorbing and spreading the impact of a damaging blow. It is fabricated from an impression of your teeth and jaw taken by your dentist.
A sports mouth guard that is custom-fitted by your dentist is far superior to an over-the-counter mouth guard because:
- it fits perfectly as it is made using an impression of your mouth;
- it is comfortable and resilient;
- it fits your bite;
- it enables speech and normal breathing.
If properly used, cleaned after use, and stored correctly, a custom-fitted mouth guard should last several seasons.
In contrast, over-the-counter mouth guards or generic mouth guards, which include what are commonly known as “boil-and-bite” mouth guards, should not be used.
Generic mouth guards:
- do not protect the teeth as they do not fit correctly
- are loosely fitted and often spend more time in the sock than the mouth!
- obstruct breathing and speaking
At worst, they can even wedge in the back of the throat which could occlude the airway!
Wearing a custom-fitted sports mouth guard
Many of us will visit a sports store at the start of the season and spend good money on expensive equipment to look our very best in the field. New football boots will be tried on, helmets fitted for good visibility, and even sunglasses and hats will be bought to shade our eyes and face.
Yet many sportsmen and women forget to protect one of their greatest assets – their teeth: used for speech, smiling, chewing food, and even cutting sticky tape! This should be first and foremost in our minds for protection.
Only dental professionals can design and manufacture a custom-fitted mouth guard that provides adequate protection for your teeth. So, what better way to ensure their survival than to have a custom made mouth guard constructed at Yarra Valley Dental
Caring for your mouth guard
To keep your mouth guard in tip-top working order, you’ll need to:
- keep it out of the sun;
- wash it in cold water after use;
- keep on the supplied plastic model cast;
- and get your dentist to make sure it’s still OK when you go in for your regular check-ups.
Cleaning your mouth guard
It is very important that your mouth guard is well maintained so that it lasts for the whole sports season and does not deteriorate.
Firstly, always rinse your mouth guard in cold water when you first take it out of your mouth. This can be done by using your drink bottle on the ground. Never use hot/warm water as this can cause the silicone to distort.
Secondly, when you get home, thoroughly clean your mouth guard using a soft toothbrush and a little soap or toothpaste. Make sure that you get the bristles of the toothbrush right into the grooves and base to remove old saliva and any food that may have remained after half time snack!
Thirdly, always store you mouth guard (once it is fully dry) in a well-ventilated case away from direct heat and light. Don’t leave it inside a car on a hot day or you may find it looks like a soft gummy bear. 😊
Occasionally, as mouth guard may start to rub due to changes in the mouth. This can occur when a new tooth erupts, when a tooth sheds or when the mouth guard has been stored incorrectly.
There are two ways of rectifying such a problem.
- If this change is such that the mouth guard won’t seat properly and can’t be worn, it is imperative that you return to the dentist who made the mouth guard for a new one to be fabricated.
- If the mouth guard can be worn but it is just tight or rubbing, then it is safe to take a pair of nail scissors and gently cut off the offensive area, just like trimming your nails. Sometimes it will need to be warmed under the tap and inserted immediately to confirm the new shape.
Mouth guards and orthodontic treatment
While it can be difficult to fit a mouth guard over braces, it is not impossible. Any person involved in contact sports should speak to their orthodontist about having a custom mouth guard made through their local dentist who understands how to manage such a situation.
Some orthodontic appliances can be more challenging for a mouth guard to be fitted: such as a Quad Helix. In these situations, advice from the Specialist Orthodontist is sought and a remedy found as many children are not permitted on the ground to play without a mouth guard and for good reason.
Umpires, Runners and Support Crew
While umpires, runners, and support persons are not always on ground during play, they are at risk of injury to their teeth due to the close proximity they have to the ball. Goal umpires, more than anyone else, are at risk of being hit not just by the ball but by players’ feet, elbows, and knees.
As much as we think we are capable of injury prevention, these incidences happen with lightning speed. The result can be catastrophic in terms of the damage done to both the hard and soft tissues of the face, not to mention the brain with a concussion.
Protect your smile with a custom-fitted sports mouth guard
Protecting our body should be first and foremost in our minds when it comes to preparing for a sports game, this includes our teeth.
Mouth guards for all primary and secondary school children always $80*. This is for a custom made mouth guard! It means that we are not making any profit but are providing a service to the people of Yarra Glen and beyond.
Book in for your mouth guard fitting appointment today to make sure your teeth, mouth, and brain are properly protected!
*Pricing valid in 2019 only. Please contact our clinic to confirm pricing upon booking your appointment.