If you’re an athlete or you regularly play sports, you should be wearing a mouthguard. High-impact activities, like crossfit or boxing, and even casual sports require mouthguards. If you decide not to wear a mouthguard, then you might want to start picturing yourself without a few front teeth. But wearing any mouthguard you can get your hands on won’t protect your teeth the way it should — which is why you need a customized option.
Why Do I Need to Wear a Mouthguard?
You need to wear a mouthguard simply because you’ll be at risk without one. Contact sports are usually pretty physical, but casual sports can become physical as well. If you suffer direct impact to your face while you’re not wearing a mouthguard, your front teeth can be fractured or knocked out completely. Any impact to your lower jaw will create stress on the teeth. It could also cause jaw fractures, TMJ joint damage, or even a concussion. If you have braces, the sensitive tissue in your mouth could be damaged as well.
What Types of Mouthguards Are Available?
Now that you know you need a mouthguard, the next step is deciding what type of mouthguard to buy. Mouthguards can be categorized into three types.
Ready-made mouthguards are the least expensive of these categories and can be found at sporting goods stores for about $10 or less. They’re cheap and can be easily replaced. While ready-made mouthguards might be the easiest to obtain, they don’t have the best fit. Often, the mouthguard won’t protect all of your teeth because they don’t fit properly and they’re made of foam or rubber-like materials. While these materials can protect against some of the impact from a hit, they won’t completely protect the teeth and jaw. These mouthguards also less durable and you’ll need to replace them over time. Although ready-made mouthguards may not be the best option, any mouthguard is better than no mouthguard.
2) Mouth-Formed (Boil and Bite)
Mouth-formed mouthguards are the most common type available. They’re only slightly more expensive than ready-made and can also be found in sporting good stores for $15 to $20. They can be molded to your teeth by boiling them and biting down on them afterwards. These are less likely to fall out of your mouth and provide more protection than a ready-made mouthguard. Unfortunately, boil and bite mouthguards are bulky and make it hard to breathe and talk. If left out in the heat, the guard can lose its shape. Like the ready-made type, boil and bite mouthguards will need to be replaced fairly often.
Dentist-fitted mouthguards are the best option to prevent trauma, concussion, or damage to the teeth. A study showed that the risk of concussion is reduced by 50% when wearing a dentist-fitted mouthguard. Since they are custom, these mouthguards will fit snugly in the mouth. They’re made to fit the teeth and fit in the mouth so they won’t be bulky or uncomfortable. A great fit means that you’re less likely to take it out and lose it. Although they are more expensive (about $300), if taken care of, these can last for years.
How Do I Get a Dentist-Fitted Mouthguard?
Contact your dentist and let them know that you want to get fitted for a mouthguard. The process will probably start with an assessment of your teeth, and then a mold will be made of your teeth. The mouthguard will then be tested to see if it is the right fit. This process can take up to 2 weeks, but in the end, you’ll have a custom and quality mouthguard.
Barganier & LeCroy want to help protect your teeth. Contact us today to learn more!