You may have seen athletes of many different kinds of sports wearing teeth protectors called mouthguards. The reason they do so is because they want to protect their smiles, not just for the aesthetics but for their overall health.
What is a mouthguard?
Just think what it would be like to suddenly lose one or two of your front teeth. Everyday activities like smiling, talking, eating would be affected. Being able to prevent injuries to your mouth and face is doubly important if you participate in organized sports or other recreational activities.
Mouthguards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face. This minimizes the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are extremely effective in protecting the soft tissues of the tongue, lips, and cheek lining. The top teeth often take the brunt of trauma because they stick out more. The bottom teeth tend to be more protected because they are further back.
How do you know when to wear a mouthguard?
A mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear for athletes of all stripes. These should be part of your standard equipment from an early age, so that your mouth can be protected when participating in sports.
Collision and contact sports, like boxing or football, the risk for mouth injuries increases, but even non-contact sports, like gymnastics and skating, can result in a mouth injury.
What are the different kinds of mouthguards?
The best kind of mouthguard to invest in would be one that is custom made by your dentist. These can be pricing however, so you may want to consider using a stock mouthguard or a boil-and-bite mouthguard from the drugstore. Call us at Upland Dental Group & Implant Center, (909) 985-1966, in order to set up an appointment with a dentists who can consult with you to choose the best option. Here are the advantages for each option:
- Custom-made: These are made by a dentist based on casts of your mouth. These are the most expensive option because they are individually created for fit and comfort. These also offer the best form of protection.
- Boil and bite: These mouth protectors can be bought at sporting goods stores and drugstores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. These kinds of mouth protectors are made by first softening the mold, and then inserted into the mouth and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. Look for brands that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
- Stock: These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky, thus making breathing and talking difficult.
Having a properly fitted mouthguard is especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouthguard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, which can help to avoid injuries to the gums or cheeks from the braces scraping the inside of the mouth.
Talk to a dentist at Upland Dental Group & Implant Center, (909) 985-1966 to help choose which mouthguard will work for best for you. Your dentist may suggest a mouthguard that covers the lower teeth if you do have braces.
How to care for your mouthguard
Consult with your dentist to see when the best time to replace your mouthguard is. Replace it when there are signs of wear, when it is damaged or ill fitting. Teens and children will need to replace their mouthguards frequently as their mouths are changing.
Between games, keep your mouthguard dry and clean to prevent the build up of bacteria. Rinse before and after each use and brush the mouthguard and then keep it clean when not in use. Keep it out of direct sunlight,and bring the mouthguard on dental visits so your dentist can assess it and give it a thorough cleaning. Store your moughtruad out of reach of pets who may mistake it as a chew toy.
With proper care and maintenance a mouthguard can last you a long time. If you are interested in getting one fitted, call us at (909) 985-1966 to arrange an appointment at the Upland Dental Group & Implant Center.