With summer just around the corner, we are all getting excited for warmer days soon to come. With warmer days and lots of sunshine, we are eager to enjoy lots of outdoor activities and sports. Being active and participating in group sports is great, but it always comes with some risks as well. Here at Lancaster Dental, we are always especially concerned about your teeth and your oral health and that’s why we recommend a sports mouth guard for those at risk. A sports guard is meant to protect your teeth and mouth and reduce the risk of damage and trauma.
What exactly is a Mouthguard?
A mouthguard also referred to as a sports guard, is a device worn over your teeth that is designed to protect them from trauma. They typically cover the upper teeth and are designed to prevent them from fractures (or even tooth loss) and your lips/tongue from cuts.
There are three basic types:
A stock fit sports guard
Stock mouth guards come pre-formed and can not be customized at all. These are usually the most inexpensive option, but they often do not fit well and can be quite bulky. This can make it hard to speak and even breathe while they are in the mouth. Most people will find them quite uncomfortable and will not like wearing them.
Boil and bite sports guard
These are typically available through your pharmacy or sporting goods store. They are pre-formed plastic that can be heated up (placed into boiling water) and altered (by biting on it) to improve fit. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds and for most people, and it can be challenging to get a perfect fit. Hence, there is a decrease in effectiveness or compliance.
Custom- made sports guard
A custom-made mouthguard is precisely like it sounds. They are made specifically for each individual with a customized fit. These are available through your dentist’s office and require having an impression (mould) of your teeth to be taken. They can be fully customized and can be even worn with braces. This makes them the most comfortable and provides the best protection for your teeth and mouth.
How do I get one?
We hope that with having a better understanding of each type of sports guard that is available, you will choose the custom-made option. This will give you the best fit and best protection for your teeth. The easiest way of staring the process is by setting up an appointment with us, and we will take care of the rest.
What can I expect at my appointment?
The appointment is quite short and easy. Like always, we will need to review your medical history at the beginning and determining the best option for your teeth. Then one of our dental staff will take an impression of your teeth. They will insert a special tray with the impression material and get the imprint of your teeth. This will be done to both the top and bottom teeth. You will be able to customize the appearance of your sports guard by choosing the colour of your liking. All of this will be sent to a dental lab where they will make your custom-fitted mouthguard. Typically, this process can take about a week. You will need to come back to pick up your sports guard. At this appointment, we will asses the fit of your sports guard and review use and care instructions. Now all you need to do is make sure you wear it!
Sports Mouthguard Do’s and Don’t’s
- DO wear it every time you are at risk of injury to your teeth and mouth
- DO store it in a proper container away from high heat and sunlight
- DO clean it after every use (antibacterial soap and warm water will work well)
- DO examine it regularly (if has any damage like chips or cracks it needs to be replaced)
- DO keep it away from your pets (especially dogs as they might mistake it for a chew toy)
- DON’T share it with other people
- DON’T clean it with hot water (this may distort its shape)
Custom sports guards are designed to minimize the risk of sports-related injuries to your teeth and mouth. Remember, play safe always! And if you need a sports guard to protect your smile, give Lancaster Dental a call today.
DISCLAIMER: The advice offered is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. It is no way to provide a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation. Any advice provided is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.