Mouth Guards and Sports Dentistry
Cosmetic Dentistry Cancun can offer teeth protection with custom fit mouth guards. Sports guards, mouth protectors and mouth guards are different names for the same thing– a device worn over your teeth that protects them from blows to the face and head. Mouth guards are an important piece of athletic equipment for anyone.
Mouth guards typically cover the upper teeth, and are designed to protect against broken teeth, cut lips and other damage to your mouth. If you wear braces or other fixed dental appliances (such as a bridge) on your lower jaw, we may suggest a mouth protector for these teeth as well.
According to the Academy of Sports Dentistry, an optimal athletic mouth guard should possess:
- adequate thickness in all areas to provide for the reduction of impact forces
- a fit that is retentive and not dislodged on impact
- speech considerations equal to the demands of the playing status of the athlete
- a construction material that meets FDA approval
- useful wearing-time equal to one season of play
What Are the Different Types of Mouth Guards?
No matter which type of mouth guard you choose, it should be resilient, comfortable and tear-resistant. It should also fit properly and not restrict your speech or breathing. The three types of mouth guards are:
- Custom-made mouth guards — These are individually designed and made in your dentist’s office or a professional dental laboratory. Not surprisingly, they are likely to provide the most comfortable fit and best protection. Your dentist makes an impression of your teeth and then constructs the mouth guard over a model of them. Because they fit and feel better, most athletes prefer customized mouth guards. However, they are also the most expensive.
- Boil and bite mouth guards — These come in a pre-formed shape that can be altered by boiling the mouth guard in water, then biting into the warm plastic for a customized fit. They can be bought at many sporting goods stores, and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. Follow the directions carefully to avoid winding up with a poor-fitting mouth guard.
- Stock mouth guards — These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and may make breathing and talking difficult.
How Long Should Mouth Guards Last?
Mouth guards should ideally be replaced after each season because they can wear down over time, making them less effective. Replacement is especially important for adolescents because their mouths continue to grow and teeth continue to develop into adulthood. Many athletes who play several sports have new mouth guards made when they go for their six-month dental checkup.
At Cosmetic Dentistry Cancun, we supply our patients with Custom Mouth Guards. These provide the dentist with the critical ability to address several important issues in the fitting of the mouth guard. Several questions must be answered before the Custom Mouth Guard can be fabricated. These questions include those addressed at the preseason screening or dental examination as part of your general dental care.
- Is the mouth guard designed for the particular sport being played?
- Is the age of the athlete and the possibility of providing space for erupting teeth in mixed dentition (age 6-12) going to affect the mouth guard? Will the design of the mouth guard be appropriate for the level of competition being played?
- Does the patient have any history of previous dental injury or concussion, thus needing additional protection in any specific area?
- Is the athlete undergoing orthodontic treatment?
- Does the patient present with cavities and/or missing teeth?
- Is the athlete being helped by a dentist and/or athletic trainer or by a sporting good retailer not trained in medical/dental issues?
These are important questions that the sporting good store retailer and the boil & bite mouth guard CANNOT begin to address. The custom made mouth guards are designed by our sports dentistry professionals and are the most satisfactory of all types of mouth protectors. They fulfill all the criteria for adaptation, retention, comfort, and stability of material. They interfere the least with speaking and studies have shown that the Custom Mouth Guard has virtually no effect on breathing. Custom Mouth Guards are made from a stone cast of the mouth, usually of the maxillary (upper) arch, using an impression (mold) fabricated by your dentist. A thermoplastic mouth guard material is adapted over the cast with a special vacuum machine. The Custom Mouth Guard is then trimmed and polished to allow for proper tooth and gum adaptation. All back teeth should be covered.It should be noted that these Custom Mouth Guards are superior to the store bought stock and boil and bite mouth guards because they have a much better fit since they are made from a mold of your mouth and are designed by the doctors at Cosmetic Dentistry Cancun.
Strap attachments to helmets may be requested and are easily adapted to the custom made mouth guard, although not needed because of the good fit.
Sports Dentistry Facts
Here are some facts as they relate to sports guards and sports dentistry from the National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety.
- It has been shown that properly fabricated custom made mouth guards by your dentist can reduce the rate of concussion as well as dental and mandibular injuries.
- Stenger and others have demonstrated in 1962 the reduction of concussions and head and neck injuries as well as reduction in dental facial injuries when the Notre Dame Football team wore professionally fabricated custom made mouth guards.
- Repeated concussions appear to impart cumulative damage, resulting in increased severity and duration with each incident. Therefore it is imperative to diagnose and deliver proper custom made mouth guards to athletes after an episode of concussion.
- In football, the chance of having a second concussion is four times greater than the chance of sustaining a first concussion.
- Catastrophic brain swelling may occur following a second minor head injury in individuals who are still symptomatic from a prior concussion.
- Dental injuries are the most common type of oral-facial injury sustained during participation in sports; the majority of these dental injuries are totally preventable.
- An athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to the teeth when not wearing a protective mouth guard.
- The cost to repair a fractured tooth is many times greater than the cost of a dentist-diagnosed and designed professionally-made mouth guard.
- Every athlete involved in contact sport has about a 10% chance per season of an oral-facial injury. For athletes playing more than four years, there is a 33-56% chance during an athletic career.
- If a tooth is avulsed (knocked out) during an accident, the cost to re-implant a tooth and the follow-up dental treatment is about $2500-$3000. If the tooth cannot be replaced and an implant or bridge must be used, the cost rises to $4500-$5000.
- Victims of knocked out teeth who do not have a tooth properly preserved or replanted may face lifetime dental costs of $15,000-$20,000/tooth, hours in the dental chair, and the possible development of other dental problems such as periodontal disease.
- It is estimated that faceguards and mouth guards prevent approximately 200,000 injuries each year in high school and college football.
- The stock mouth guard which is bought at sports stores without any individual fitting provides only a low level of protection, if any. If the wearer is rendered unconscious, there is a risk the mouth guard may lodge in the throat potentially causing an airway obstruction.
- A properly fitted mouth guard reduces the chances of sustaining a concussion from a blow to the jaw.
- Mouth guards should be worn at all times during competition; in practice as well as in games.
The American Dental Association recommends wearing custom mouth guards for the following sports: acrobats, basketball, boxing, field Hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, wrestling.
At Cosmetic Dentistry Cancun, we are pleased to provide our young athletes and adult athletes with Proform Athletic Mouth Guards. Click here to contact us today if you would like to schedule a FREE consultation with us.