Exercise is an important part of growing up (and healthy for adults as well!), but according to the Australian Dental Association playing sports, particularly contact ones, without a mouth guard can be a recipe for dental disaster!
Australian Dental Association SA Branch Dr Angelo Papageorgiou says, “As we head in to the Winter Sports season, it is important parents are aware that a properly fitted, custom-fitted mouth guard is an essential piece of their kids’ sporting equipment.”
At Warner Lakes Dental we strongly agree that mouth guards are an indispensible piece of athletic kit for athletes of all ages.
To ensure that mouth guards are used, Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) and the Australian Dental Association (ADA) have collaborated on a Mouth Guard Policy that makes mouth guards mandatory for registered players during training and games for sports including football, basketball, hockey, boxing, wrestling, martial arts, lacrosse, and netball.
Wearing a mouth guard during games and practice can help athletes avoid damage to lips, teeth, gums, and face.
What Are My Mouth Guard Options?
There are three types of mouth guards:
Stock mouth protectors are precast and sold as ready to wear. They are economical and available at most sporting good stores and department stores.
However, very little can be done to adjust their fit, they are clumsy, make breathing and talking difficult, and they provide little or no protection. In some cases they can cause damage of their own. Almost unanimously, dentists do not recommend their use.
Boil and bite mouth protectors are also available at many sporting goods stores and they offer a slightly better fit than stock mouth protectors.
The “boil and bite” mouth guard is composed of thermoplastic material. The mouth guard is dunked in hot water to soften, then placed into the mouth and shaped around the teeth using tooth, finger, and tongue pressure.
Custom-fitted mouth guards are custom designed for each patient and manufactured in the dental office or a professional laboratory based on your dentist’s instructions. Your dentist makes an impression of your teeth using a mould, and a mouth guard is then created from that model.
Due to the use of the custom material and because of the time and work involved, a custom-made mouth guard is more expensive than the other two options, but it provides the most comfort and protection by a large margin.
Typically, mouth guards cover your upper teeth, but in some instances, sometimes depending on other protective gear, your dentist will make a mouth guard for the lower teeth as well.
Your dentist will recommend the mouth guard most suited to protect you. An effective mouth guard is comfortable, tear resistant, durable and simple to clean, and does not restrict breathing or speech.
Advantages Of A Custom-Made Mouth Guard
It can be difficult to convince athletes, particularly young ones, to wear mouth guards. They find them awkward or uncomfortable. But a custom fitted mouth guard has a comfort level that is dramatically improved. Stock over-the-counter guards are, bulky, cumbersome, and uncomfortable. Also, custom guards can be customised!
If an athlete is concerned about their play, it’s worth noting that research shows that in some cases a custom fitted guard can improve athletic performance. How? Some evidence shows that mouthpieces can help keep athletes from post-workout levels of high cortisol, which breaks down protein.
And unlike other guards, a custom mouth guard doesn’t move around in the mouth and obstruct breathing. Because athletes can breathe properly and not have oxygen intake impeded by a clunky piece of plastic, they can feel confident in their performance and endurance.
For maximum protection, custom mouth guards are pretty much the only choice. Due to their customised fit for each individual athlete, they offer the best defense against potential injuries to teeth as well as gums and orthodontic hardware.
And when orthodontics are involved, custom guards offer improved protection and prevention against potential oral lacerations caused by the braces themselves.
Cost is an important factor when parents are considering gear, custom mouth guards included. On the other hand, it’s important to consider the potential negative consequences of generic mouth guards.
Without custom fit and proper protection, your child is more likely to suffer dental injuries (and emergency dental or medical care). Given the potential cost, a custom mouth guard seems a minimal investment when balanced against the cost of unforeseen medical bills.
The Warner Lakes Dental Care Experience
Warner Lakes Dental wants your visit to be the quickest and most convenient dental experience possible. From parking to treatment, we try to make the entire process as simple and painless as possible.
From routine check-ups and cleans to root canals, extractions, and cosmetic treatments, Warner Lakes Dental is your partner in dental health.
Same day emergency appointment available!
Call (07) 3448 0162 or visit us at Warner Lakes Medical Precinct 1185B Old North Rd in Warner.