Athletic Mouth Guard

athletic mouthguardAn athletic mouth guard (athletic mouth protector) is one of the most important pieces of sports equipment that you or your child will use. They protect the teeth, lips, tongue, and cheeks from injury. They also help prevent head, jaw and neck injuries. In the last few years, most sport organizations have made the wearing of a sports mouth guard or mouth protector mandatory.

Sports that require the use of a mouth guard include those that offer a risk of falling or of head contact with the equipment or bodies of other players. We usually think of team sports like hockey or football as being the most risky sports requiring these appliances but even sports such as skateboarding, gymnastics, basketball, and soccer present risks. The American Dental Association recommends wearing custom mouth guards for the following sports: acrobats, basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, wrestling.

There are different types of sports mouth guards available but the most comfortable and easily worn type is the custom mouth guard that you can have made at our dental office. It is not only more comfortable than the do-it-yourself types that you boil to soften and fit but it is also more effective. If your mouthguard is properly made on a mould custom of your own teeth, it can better cushion the impact of sudden contact with sports equipment or other players. Please ask us for the best type for you or your child.

At Orchard Maple Family Dental, we prepare custom athletic mouth guards for anyone involved in sports.Our mouth guards come in a variety of colors including clear. The fabrication of your mouth guard will consist of two short appointments. The first appointment will consist of us taking impressions of your teeth so we can create models to send to the dental lab to have your mouth guard fabricated. If the mouth guard is for a child, at this appointment we will also determine if they are a candidate for a custom made mouth guard or for a prefabricated one which can be purchased at an athletic store, based on the childs age and if he/she still has adult teeth erupting. The second appointment will be the delivery of the mouth guard. At this appointment, we check the fit of the mouth guard to your teeth and make any necessary adjustments.

Can I Wear a Mouth Guard if I Wear Braces?

Yes. Since an injury to the face could damage braces or other fixed appliances, a properly fitted mouth guard may be particularly important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. Your dentist or orthodontist can determine the mouth guard that will provide the best protection for your unique mouth work. An important reminder: do not wear any orthodontic retainers or other removable appliance during any contact sports or during any recreational activities that put your mouth at risk for injury.

Precautions/Instructions for Your Athletic Mouth Guard

  • Rinse with clean water or antibacterial mouthrinse after use and brush with a toothbrush before storing
  • Store the mouth guard in a specially designed container that allows for air to reach the appliance and one that is hard enough to resist damage
  • Do not boil or leave in hot locations
  • Make a habit of wearing the mouth guard whenever you participate in sports or activities that place you at risk for dental or jaw injuries
  • Have mouth guard replaced if torn or if it no longer fits properly
  • Let us examine the condition of your appliance at every dental check-up appointment

Facts from the National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety

  • Dental injuries are the most common type of oro-facial injuries sustained during participation in sports; the majority of these dental injuries are preventable.
  • An athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to the teeth when not wearing a protective mouth guard.
  • The cost of a fractured tooth is many times greater than the cost of a dentist diagnosed and designed professionally made mouth guard.
  • Every athlete involved in contact sport has about a 10% chance per season of an oro-facial injury, or a 33-56% chance during an athletic career.
  • The cost to replant a tooth and the follow-up dental treatment is about $5000.
  • Victims of knocked out teeth who do not have a tooth properly preserved or replanted may face lifetime dental costs of $15,000-$20,000/tooth, hours in the dental chair, and the possible development of other dental problems such as periodontal disease.
  • It is estimated that faceguards and mouth guards prevent approximately 200,000 injuries each year in high school and college football.