Did you know that up to 40 percent of all sports injuries involve the face? You can protect your smile and your mouth with a comfortable, custom-molded mouthguard designed to reduce the risk of sports-related oral injury. élan by Dr. Meghan Hodges offers mouthguards that comfortably fit over your teeth and can help protect your smile as well as your lips, tongue, face, and jaw. There is new research that indicates that mouthguards can even reduce the severity of concussions.
You have no doubt seen athletes in hockey, boxing, and rugby wearing mouthguards, but others, like bicyclists, weightlifters, and gymnasts, made the ADAs list of athletes who need mouthguards. The recommendation is justified as studies show that 13 to 39 percent of all dental injuries are sports related. Because the face is such an important part of a person’s image, self-confidence, and sometimes success, it’s better to be safe than… toothless!
Before facemasks and mouthguards were required in football, half of all injuries occurred in the mouth. During the playing season, players had a one in ten chance of mouth injury. Once high schools and colleges began requiring facemasks and mouthguards, the number of injuries reported dropped by 200,000 per year. Naturally, dentists and the ADA recommend mouthguards for adults and children in any recreational activity that poses the risk of injury to your mouth.
Types of Mouthguards
Ready-made mouthguards are the generic and inexpensive mouthguards you have probably seen in a department or sporting goods store. These types of guards are not custom-fitted, so they may seem bulky and uncomfortable in your mouth. Ready-made mouthguards are secured by closed jaws which means when an athlete wears a ready-made mouthguard, speaking and breathing may be difficult.
Mouth-formed mouthguards offer a more custom fit to your mouth. They are made up acrylic, shell liner material that provides a comfortable and secure fit over your natural teeth. Some downsides to this type of mouthpiece are that many users report that this mouthguard can have an unpleasant odor or taste. It has also susceptible to hardening over time and loses its flexibility. Another type of mouth-formed mouthguard, the thermoplastic style, can be customized by heating it in water, then biting it. It will take on the shape of your bite. While these maintain their flexibility, they too can feel bulky.
Custom-made mouthguards are comfortable, practical, and protective and offer the best solution for the athlete. A dentist or lab technician creates the custom-made mouthguard after taking impressions of your teeth for a mouthpiece that is ideal for sports.
Before you purchase any mouthguard, consult with your dentist. There are other special mouthguards or mouth protectors that are recommended for patients with braces, removable bridges or dentures, a protruding jaw, or a cleft palate.
- Always wear your mouthguard during practice and games.
- Never chew on it because you may weaken the material and decrease its effectiveness.
- Holes, tears, and damage to the mouthguard may irritate your gums or soft tissue.
- If you notice damage, replace your mouthguard immediately.
- Before and after each use, check your mouthguard for damage and rinse it with cold water or mouthwash.
- Clean your guard regularly with a toothbrush and toothpaste or in a solution of soapy water.
- Be sure to rinse it well and store it in a firm, perforated container.
- Avoid placing it in direct sunlight and high temperatures.
- Most importantly, you should schedule regular dental check-ups, including one right before the playing season starts.
- Bring your mouthguard and discuss any problems or concerns you may have and to determine its effectiveness.
ADA & ASD Recommendations
The American Dental Association and the Academy of Sports Dentistry recommend mouthguards for athletes who participate in:
Soccer Field Events
For more information about mouthguards or to schedule an appointment to get one fitted, please contact our office today at (918) 528-3330.