If you’re in danger of experiencing a dental injury through high-impact sports and don’t use any protection, you’re potentially leaving yourself open to painful and costly dental work. Damaged teeth also have the potential to lead to a host of other health related problems.
What is a mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a thick, often spongy shield that fits over your teeth. Mouthguards are usually worn during sports and other activities that involve a high risk of impact to the face.
They can be helpful outside of sports too. For instance, you might need to use a specialised mouthguard for jaw issues or teeth grinding. Dentists sometimes use special types of mouthguards to help treat grinding, snoring or sleep apnoea as well.
What does a mouthguard do?
A mouthguard provides a defensive wall to keep your teeth, soft tissue, and jaw safe. If you experience a traumatic blow to your jaw area, a mouthguard helps to dissipate the force over a larger surface area, as well as absorbing some of the energy.
Good quality sports mouthguards can minimise the risk of your teeth getting chipped, broken, or even dislodged completely. With a huge variety of mouthguard options available, choosing the right mouthguard is important. You want to make sure you’re getting adequate protection as well as comfort.
Check out our fact sheet to find out more about the importance of mouth guards.
A Custom made sports mouthguard can protect you by:
- Cushioning your teeth against impact
- Protecting against jaw joint and soft tissue injuries
- Preventing neck and jaw injuries
- Reducing concussion
When should I wear a mouthguard?
Whenever there’s a chance that your jaw might come into contact with other players, hard surfaces, or sports equipment, you should be wearing a mouthguard for protection. Accidents that happen while participating in sports are one of the biggest causes of dental injury, especially in children. Chipped teeth, knocked out teeth, and jaw injuries are just some of the problems that can be avoided by using a good quality mouthguard.
What if I wear braces?
Braces or fixed bridges can seriously damage your soft tissue in the event of a sports injury. Speak to a qualified and experienced dentist such as Dr Walker at Providence Medical & Dental, Belmont for a custom made sporting mouthguard designed to work as barrier between the delicate tissue on the inside of your mouth and the hard braces.
What should I look for in a mouthguard?
A good quality mouthguard is one that allows you to speak and breathe easily, stays in place throughout the action, is comfortable and fits well, is easy to keep clean, is tear resistant and is tasteless. You want to make sure your mouthguard has all these elements to make sure you’ve got the best possible protection with comfort. Dr Walker can assist you with getting the perfect fit to suit your mouth.
A mouthguard with a custom fit is especially important if you wear braces, have fixed anterior bridgework or just want the best chance of protection from your teeth being exposed to potential trauma.
Custom-fitted Mouthguards vs off the shelf mouthguards
The Australian Dental Association recommends using custom-fitted mouthguards to protect your teeth during sports or extreme activities. The ideal mouthguard is one that has been fitted and custom-made for your mouth. The better your mouthguard fits, the better coverage and protection it gives you.
Custom mouthguards are fitted by a dentist using an impression of your teeth and a plaster model. Your dentist can also take into account the specific risks that might be associated with your sport and provide extra support and cushioning in these areas. You can be sure that you are getting the optimum protection for your teeth and jaw.
View our fact sheet to find out more about the benefits of wearing a custom fitted mouthguard.
Custom- made mouthguards need to be regularly checked (once every year) to make sure they still fit correctly and are giving your teeth maximum protection. Your teeth are growing and jaw is changing each year so your mouthguard may need to be adapted or replaced to ensure adequate protection. Any damage can cause you to experience pain and discomfort and the mouthguard will be less able to absorb any impact to your face.
What are the risk factors when playing sport?
An injury can result in a loss of one or more teeth, broken or chipped teeth, jaw fractures or injuries to the soft tissue of the mouth. Dental trauma can also include damage to the gums and lips.
According to the Australian Dental Association (ADA), approximately one-third of traumatic injuries to teeth are sports-related. Sports Medicine Association Australia suggests that 50% of children experience some form of dental injury.
The good news is that injuries can often be prevented by using a custom-fitted mouthguard every time you play or train.
How to care for your mouthguard
Before and after using a mouthguard, rinse it or brush with a toothbrush and paste, then allow it to air-dry. On occasion, clean the mouthguard with cool, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. When not in use, your mouth guard should be kept in a cool place and stored in a plastic container with vents that allow air to circulate.
Most importantly, remember to bring it home after the game. If it’s left in the car, for example, the heat can destroy the shape, rendering it useless. Keep an eye out for any wear or tear as this will indicate the need for replacement.
Get your own custom made mouth guard today!
Get sport ready and visit Dr Walker today, she is happy to assist you with your custom fitted mouth guard and in helping you to protect your smile while playing the sport that you love.
Call 02 4989 1300 or book online to schedule your dental appointment. For a limited time, Providence Dental & Medical, Belmont are giving away FREE dental packs to new patients. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Download the Mouthguard Fact Sheet now