At Woodcreek Dental, we are aware that many sporting activities carry the risk of injury to the mouth. Whether it impacts from an opponent, or simply falling to the ground, there is every chance that teeth could end up accidentally knocked out and the tissues torn up. To allow our patients to enjoy their recreational activities without having to worry about their dental formula, we encourage the use of mouthguards.
When worn over the teeth, especially the upper row, they help to prevent breakage, cut lips and other injuries. They are more so important when you are wearing dental appliances like braces and bridges.
Why You May Need a Mouthguard
Many sports and recreational activities make a face particularly vulnerable. While helmets may be required in some, few recommend the use of mouthguards. This is dangerous as damage to teeth can easily occur when you have flying balls, contact hits, and other actions that can cause impact to the face.
For those that wear braces, the risk of damage multiplies as a hit on one area can affect other connected parts. If the dental appliance you are using is removable, it is advisable to do so before wearing the mouthguard. The only exception to this may be Invisalign trays. Do consult with our team to find out if it is safe to wear the trays while using a mouthguard.
Mouthguards offer protection to not just the teeth, but also the jaw. Their use reduces the chances of dental injuries and trauma. Made of thin, flexible plastic, mouthguards are also quite comfortable to wear and can remain unnoticed when otherwise occupied.
Types of Mouthguards
Stock mouth protectors are the most inexpensive option found at sporting goods stores. They come preformed and ready to wear. Because they are preformed, they cannot always match different people’s mouths as alignment and sizing of teeth vary. They also tend to be bulky and can make speaking and breathing difficult. The discomfort and poor fit often translate into poor protection. We do not recommend their use.
The second variety is boil and bite mouthguards. Also easily available at sporting goods stores, they do offer a better fit. Made of thermoplastic material, the guard is placed in boiling water to soften it. Once it cools to a warm temperature, the user then places it in the mouth and shapes it over teeth using tongue and finger pressure. This is a more customized option that requires strict adherence to instructions to make for good results.
The final and best option is custom-made mouthguards. They are prepared at the dentist’s office or in a dental laboratory. We take an impression of your teeth and use this to create a perfectly fitted mouthguard. Because professionals are doing this, the results are more precise. Although the most expensive option, they inherently feel more comfortable and offer the best protection.
As mentioned, mouthguards are mostly worn over upper teeth. Consulting with your dentist is however recommended as certain considerations may require the addition of a mouthguard for lower teeth. For instance, those with braces on lower teeth are advised to wear mouthguards over them.
To get quality custom-made mouthguards and advice on how to best protect your teeth while engaging in sporting fun, make an appointment today. Call us at Woodcreek Dental at (805) 738-5566 now.