A custom mouthguard for sports is a necessity in this modern age of youth sports and concussions, most parents would not think of sending their child into a full contact sport without a helmet. A mouthguard for sports is just as important for overall safety and a child’s well being on the field. Safety is of utmost concern for most youth and adult sports organizations and this includes sports we may not perceive a need for extra equipment for protection. These sports can include volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, skateboarders and scooter riders. These sports are just as dangerous to our teeth and oral tissues as tackle football. The main reason you need a mouthguard for sports is not about the physical contact amount, but the fact that there is any contact at all, deliberate or not.
A custom mouthguard for sports is there to protect against injury to the teeth and jaw. Studies have shown that athletes have a 30-60% chance of receiving an injury to the face or mouth during his or her playing career. A broken or fractured tooth is not able to heal like a bone in the leg or arm. This will mean when an injury occurs it will include dental appointments and possible dental surgeries with a lifetime cost approaching $20,000. And that would be just for a single tooth based on studies. Over 5 million teeth are knocked out due to sports every single year.
What Does A Mouthguard For Sports Do For Your Athlete?
-A mouthguard for sports can help prevent cuts and bruising upon impact by an opponent or a ball.
-A mouthguard for sports can help prevent tooth fractures or dislocated teeth by cushioning the teeth against the blow.
-Protection between opposing teeth. A mouthguard for sports will separate your upper and lower teeth by a cushioned layer keeping them away from contact with each other.
-The lower jaw (mandible) is protected so impact does not fracture, damage the bone, or cause issues with Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ).
-A mouthguard for sports helps to reduce brain injury. Without a mouthguard for sports, the force that hits the mouth can cause the jaws to violently jar together which can result in a concussion. This point is still being extensively studied. But the belief early on is that mouthguards for sports can help limit concussion type events.
-Mouthguards for sports are used as preventation against neck injuries.
-A mouthguard will give an athlete extra confidence on the field to play his or her best.
Why The Need For A Custom Mouthguard For Sports?
We are all unique and dentistry is tailored for personalized treatment. Our teeth and mouth shape is different between all of us. A typical “boil and bite” sports mouthguard will not give the protection necessary. For many they are ill fitting and if they do not fit correctly you are leaving yourself and your loved ones at risk for significant injury. A well fitted mouthguard can reduce injuries to the teeth and jaws, possibly reduce risk of concussions by absorbing some the energy of the collision before it reaches the brain.
Sports injuries, like concussions, can leave damage that lasts a lifetime. Losing a tooth or teeth might be the least of our worries especially when it comes to possible concussion protection. I repeat again, no mouthguard will guard against all concussions but some studies have found a possible helper effect when an athlete is wearing a properly fitted mouthguard for sports. A properly fitted custom mouthguard for sports is going to decrease the risk for injury and also possibly the severity of injury. Another plus is that a custom mouthguard for sports are uniquely designed for maximum oxygen flow. The more oxygen an athlete is able to take in, the more enhanced their performance, endurance and communication can become.
Custom Mouthguard For Sports?
The American Dental Association (ADA) has made a recommended list of which sports should wear an athletic mouthguard. Both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD) recommends a professionally fabricated, properly fitted custom athletic mouthguard for all contact sports. They are as follows:
-Ice hockey (and roller hockey)
-Skateboarding and Scooters
How Is A Custom Mouthguard For Sports Made?
A custom mouthguard for sports generally is made to cover the upper teeth and have sufficient thickness to absorb cushion the jaws. It should also have the ability to offer protection to the front teeth. A big priority is that it stays in place comfortably. No one wants to wear an uncomfortable athletic mouthguard. Proper oral and dental protection begins with a minimum of 4 mm of shock absorbing mouthguard material in the important impact zones. These areas include the front of the teeth and under the molars. Protection of the frontal impact zone is also necessary. It cannot be too bulky as that would interfere with speaking and proper breathing.
Your dentist will begin the process of a custom mouthguard for sports by taking a dental impression of your teeth. This is especially important for those who wear orthodontic braces. The mouthguard will be made to fit over those easily. Once the orthodontic braces are removed, a new athletic mouthguard will need to be fabricated by your dentist. Athletic mouthguards for children will have to be replaced as they grow to ensure proper fit and protection. Even adults may need to change their mouthguards regularly so that they have continued maximum protection. The mouthguard material can lose its absorptive properties over a period of time and after constant use, so replacing the mouthguard only makes sense to ensure proper protection. A mouthguard for sports is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from a very early age.
How Long Should A Mouthguard For Sports Last?
A mouthguard for sports should be replaced following each season. This can be due to many factors…..growth of your athlete, material wearing down, or changes in fit over time.
Custom Mouthguard For Sports Conclusion
An oral or facial injury should not be left to chance. Every time you step on the field or the ice you are susceptible to injury. No matter what sport you choose to play, you are open to getting hit in the face accidentally or intentionally. Why not protect yourself as much as possible while still enjoying the sport and competition you love. Ask your dentist today how a custom mouthguard for sports can elevate your game and sport safety!