At Harper Dental, we offer different types of mouthguards the protect against potentially damaging falls, forceful body contact, or flying pieces of athletic equipment. Engaging in physical activities is a great way to maintain good overall health and wellbeing. Some of those physical activities, however, place players at higher risk for facial and oral injury.
Teeth are especially vulnerable to injury when playing sports because they have very little protection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 5 million teeth are lost each year as a result of various sports activities. Those dental injuries account for almost 700,000 trips to the emergency room each year.
Common oral injuries include fractures and laterally displacements. Teeth may also be completely knocked out of their sockets (avulsion/extrusion) or pushed up or down into the tooth socket (intrusion). Damage to the lips, tongue, and the soft tissues of your mouth can also occur when engaged in sports. This type of injury often occurs when the impact of a hard fall, tackle, or hit causes the teeth to bite and tear or puncture the lips, tongue, or surrounding soft tissue.
How Sport Mouthguards Work
Sports mouthguards, also known as a mouth protector, are a great way to reduce the risk of dental trauma when playing sports. These devices are designed to capture the energy that accompanies a hard hit or fall and block or minimize the resulting shockwaves it causes.
Sports mouth protectors usually go over the top teeth but can they also be made for the lower teeth. Our dentists can also fit you for a mouthguard that works with braces if you have them. We do not advise wearing retainers with mouthguards.
Different Types of Mouthguards
Mouthguards come in three basic types: custom-made, boil, and bite, or stock versions. Custom-made mouthguards are designed in our dentist's office after we take an impression of your teeth. These devices are more expensive, but they offer the most comfortable fit and the best protection.
Boil and bite mouthguards come pre-formed in one size and are available over the counter. This type of mouthguard is less expensive than the custom version, and are customizable. To get a boil and bite device to fit your teeth, you first place the piece in boiling water, and then you put the softened material over your front teeth and bite down.
Stock mouthguards are also available over the counter and usually come in small, medium, and large sizes. This type of device fits most budgets but is often bulky. Talking and breathing can also be difficult when wearing them.
How to Choose the Right Mouthguard for Your Sport
Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. The device you choose should be durable, not tear easily, and be easy to clean. You also want to pick a mouthguard that does not move around when you put it in, the right mouthguard will also not restrict your speech or breathing as you play.
For more information on how to keep your teeth and smile safe during sporting activities call Harper Dental at (479) 431-0280.