Athletic mouth guards protect the teeth during sports events and competitions, reducing the risk of dental injuries significantly. If you’re a fan of playing sports, it’s hugely beneficial to consider investing in a mouth guard. At Birmingham Dental, we provide high-quality athletic mouth guards for enthusiasts of all ages.
What is an athletic mouth guard?
Mouthguards are worn over the top row of teeth during sports to help prevent an oral injury. They protect against broken teeth, cut lips, and other damage to the mouth. Mouthguards are an essential piece of athletic equipment for anyone participating in a sport that involves falls, body contact, or flying equipment. This advice is true for team sports such as football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and hockey. A mouthguard is also recommended if you skateboard, participate in gymnastics, mountain bike, or are involved in any physical activity that might result in an injury to the mouth.
Designs typically fall into three categories:
- Stock mouth guards: Non-customized mouth guards are available “off the shelf” at drug and sporting goods stores. These low-cost options are also the least effective. They come in limited sizes and there’s no fit adjustment for the athlete’s unique mouth shape and size. While they are better than nothing, the ADA doesn’t consider stock mouth guards an acceptable facial protective device.
- Mouth-formed protectors: These are the most common type of mouth guards. A step up from stock mouth guards, mouth-formed protectors are made of thermoplastic lined with acrylic or rubber. Boiling the mouth guard softens the thermoplastic so it molds to your teeth. Unfortunately, “boil-and-bite” products come in limited sizes, lack proper extensions, and often fail to cover all your teeth.
- Custom-made mouth guards: The best type of mouth guard available is one custom-made by a dental professional with the athlete’s individual needs in mind. Even the best over-the-counter product can’t account for the athlete’s age, growing jaw, or erupting teeth the way custom athletic mouth guards can. They are resilient, comfortable, easy to clean and fitted based on an exact mold of the athlete.
What does the process involve?
The first step your dentist will take when creating your custom-fit mouthguard will be to take an impression of your teeth. This is generally done using a dental putty that forms to all the crevices of each tooth and creates an exact mould of your smile – unlike regular store-bought mouthguards which just form to the general shape of the tooth line.
This mould is then used in the dental office or, more often, is sent to a lab where the actual mouthguard is created. The structure is made by layering superheated plastic to precise specifications, and is then cooled to create an extremely durable piece of dental wear.
Who should use a mouth guard?
Playing sports is exhilarating and enjoyable but it can also be dangerous. We advise anyone who participates in contact and fighting sports and activities that carry a risk of dental injuries to wear a mouth guard during every training session and competitive match, game or contest. Mouth guards are suitable for beginners, intermediates and elite athletes.
Whether you are considering an over-the-counter mouthguard or think a custom-fit option might be the best for you, be sure to talk to our knowledgeable and friendly team at Birmingham Dental.