With Fall right around the corner, sports teams with resume and the stress of the school year will again begin. I recommend wearing a mouth guard for both adults and children to help protect the mouth from injury due to grinding during sports and/or at night.
Anyone who plays contact sports such as football, boxing, soccer, ice hockey, basketball, lacrosse, and field hockey should be wearing some type of mouthguard. However, even those participating in noncontact sports (for example, gymnastics) and any recreational activity (for example, skateboarding, mountain biking) that might pose a risk of injury to the mouth would benefit from wearing a protective mouth guard.
There are three types of mouth guards:
- Stock mouth protectors are preformed and come ready to wear. They are inexpensive and can be bought at most sporting goods stores and department stores. However, little can be done to adjust their fit.
- Boil and bite mouth protectors also can be bought at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. The “boil and bite” mouth guard 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.
- Custom-fitted mouth protectors are individually designed and made in a dental office or a professional laboratory based on your dentist’s instructions. First, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and a mouth guard is then molded over the model using a special material. Due to the use of the special material and because of the extra time and work involved, this custom-made mouth guard is more expensive than the other types, but it provides the most comfort and best fit and protection.
Accidents happen during any physical activity. Wearing a mouth guard not only prevents chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage and even tooth loss but ultimately it will save you money from emergency dental treatment!