Does your child play contact sports? If so, we highly recommend getting them a custom mouthguard.
Whether they are in secondary education or playing at the university level, competitive sports require equally competitive protection custom-made for their teeth.
From improved fit to increased oxygen flow, here are the reasons why it’s important for your child to get a custom sports mouthguard.
Over 5 million teeth are dislodged each year, many of them knocked out due to a sports injury. And the cost to replace a tooth can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
When looking at those numbers, it’s a no-brainer that custom-fit mouthguards are a must for anyone participating in contact sports.
Athletes wear mouthguards to prevent injuries to their teeth, tongue, lips, and cheeks. The mouthguard also acts as a shock absorber, thus helping protect against jaw fractures and concussions.
Many organised sports do not require athletes to wear mouthguards, but it is still imperative that athletes wear them.
At the London Hockey Concussion Summit in Ontario, doctors agreed that all ice hockey players should be wearing mouthguards. Despite this, mouthguards are not mandatory in the National Hockey League.
During his time as head coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ron Wilson noted the importance of mouthguards and encouraged all players to wear them. Wilson stated it wasn’t just about protecting the teeth that made mouthguards so important, but also about lessening the chances of a concussion.
Basketball, ice hockey, field hockey, soccer, lacrosse, baseball, softball, and football are among the organised sports with the highest chances for dental injuries. But custom sports mouthguards aren’t just for organised games.
Many athletic injuries happen during pickup games and other recreational activities. Skateboarding, biking, and roller and ice skating are also activities that have high chances of oral injuries.
With so many chances for injuries, it’s easy to see why mouthguards are necessary. But what are the types of mouthguards, and why are custom-fit ones better for your child than others?
Not all mouthguards are made the same. There are three main types of mouthguards on the market today: stock, boil-and-bite, and custom. Stock mouthguards are the cheapest of the three. But that’s about the only benefit to them.
Stock mouthguards are usually only available in limited sizes such as small, medium, and large. Because of this, they often do not fit well and may not effectively cover all the teeth.
To make up for the poor fitting, an athlete may feel the need to bite down and clench their teeth. This can make it hard to breathe normally and talk. Plus, clenching of the teeth can make their mouths more prone to injury.
When a mouthguard like this doesn’t fit well, athletes might trim the guard so that it is more comfortable in their mouths. Unfortunately, this can lead to weakening the structure of the guard and defeating its purpose.
These sorts of mouthguards do very little to protect athletes from oral injuries. We recommend steering clear of them as the cost does not justify the risks.
Besides the stock mouthguards, another common guard you can find at your local store is the boil-and-bite mouthguard. These mouthguards are typically made of bulky, cheap rubber. They work by being boiled in hot water and then having your child bite down, making an impression of their teeth in the mouthguard.
The boil-and-bite mouthguards are known for being uncomfortable and are notorious for tearing and ripping easily. For most children, if their mouthguard is uncomfortable, they are probably not going to wear it, which then makes the mouthguard useless. Also, many of these guards usually fail to adequately cover the back teeth.
Though the boil-and-bite mouthguards are slightly more protective than the stock ones, they are not much better. These store-bought guards are made to sell to large quantities of people. As each person’s mouth is different, a one-size-fits-all sort of product is not recommended.
When you bring your child to get their custom sports mouthguard, we will make sure it will be comfortable, strong, and protective. A custom mouthguard can also fit comfortably over braces. Plus, they are designed for maximum oxygen flow, which is crucial when playing high-intensity sports.
All athletes are different. We will design the perfect mouthguard based on your athlete’s needs, age, and dental specifications.
As your mouthguard takes care of you, you need to remember to take care of your mouthguard.
Like other dental fixtures that appear to be totally solid (such as retainers and dentures), mouthguards are actually quite porous – similar to a sponge. As a mouthguard continues to be used, microorganisms can take over these pores.
Before and after using your mouthguard, be sure to brush it with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You can also clean a mouthguard by washing it in cool, soapy water.
When not washing your mouthguard, make sure it is dry and stored in a cool, clean place. Mouthguards should be transported in a robust case with vents for airflow to prevent mould growth.
Modern mouthguards are professionally known as Pressure Laminated Mouthguards. These work by using a “thermoplastic” material, which becomes malleable when hot. This is wrapped over the athlete’s dental moulding by use of a vacuum machine. This is followed by trimming and polishing the guard so that it’s ready for use and fits perfectly.
These laminated guards should be checked after each season to see if a replacement is necessary. Over time, the mouthguard material can wear down and the moulding can become less sturdy. Replacement is especially important for children and adolescents as their mouths are continually growing and their teeth are still developing.
If you would like to have your child fitted for a custom sports mouthguard or replace one, contact us to make an appointment. Our team at Crescent Heights Dental are always excited to help you!