Sports-related dental injuries compose 13 to 39 percent out of the total count of avulsed teeth cases annually.
All athletes are prone to experience dental trauma. During a season play, the likelihood of a player sustaining an orofacial injury is at ten percent. In a season, 31 percent of a high school basketball team can incur orofacial injuries.
In their entire playing career, athletes have a 33 to 56 percent risk of suffering from an orofacial injury. And the likelihood of getting an orofacial injury increases seven times without a mouthguard.
What is a mouthguard?
Designed to protect the teeth from apparent and unwarranted injury, a mouthguard is a protective device which covers the teeth and gums. Aside from contact sports, the device is also used as a treatment for teeth grinding, bruxism, temporomandibular joint disorder, or as a tray for tooth bleaching.
What are the different types of mouthguard?
Mouthguards come in three types — custom-fitted, boil-and-bite, and stock — with differences in fit, adjustments, and price. Still, the three types perform the same function of covering and protecting the teeth against injury or damage.
- A custom-fitted mouthguard is personalized and created in a dental office or professional laboratory. Among the three types, a custom-fitted mouthguard is the most comfortable and can offer the best protection since they are specifically designed for the patient’s needs and teeth. However, this type is also the most expensive because additional work, time, and a particular material are needed to produce it.
- A boil-and-bite mouthguard is readily available at sporting goods stores. This type of mouthguard is produced using thermoplastic, allowing it to be molded around the teeth to get the desired fit. As what its name suggests, a boil-and-bite mouthguard must be put in hot water to soften and be molded.
- A stock mouthguard does not involve molding or boiling. It is already pre-formed and ready for use. It is the cheapest and easiest to find among the three types. The drawback of a stock mouthguard is its inability to be adjusted which can result in difficulty and discomfort.
Regardless of the type, patients must always consider the capacity of a mouthguard to resist tears and the comfort it can provide. Make sure that your choice of mouthguard does not interfere with your speech and breathing.
Is a mouthguard important?
A mouthguard is especially vital among athletes particularly those involved in contact sports. The American Dental Association recommended the wearing of a mouthguard in 29 sports such as boxing, basketball, gymnastics, rugby, and volleyball.
A mouthguard helps avert dental-related injuries like luxation, jaw injury, fracture, and avulsion. It also operates as a shock absorber, preventing a concussion due to a head-related injury.
The device also safeguards orthodontic appliances like braces from getting damaged.
Although mouthguards are usually designed for the upper teeth, mouthguards for the lower teeth are also available but probably not as readily as upper teeth guards. Using mouthguards for the lower teeth can aid the patients who have braces or fixed dental appliance on his or her lower jaw.
Do mouthguards require cleaning?
Yes! Mouthguards must be kept clean to prevent bacteria from infecting it and getting into your mouth.
Maintaining the cleanliness of your mouthguard is simple.
- Rinse the device before and after use with mouth rinse or cold water.
- Brush it using a toothbrush and toothpaste or mild soap.
- Make sure that is stored in a container that is sturdy and allows the circulation of air and placed away from direct sunlight or places with high temperature as it can get distorted.
Replace your mouthguard when it is already uncomfortable or does not fit anymore. Talk to your dentist about what mouthguard is best for you.