Dental Implants: Pros and Cons

Sporting Chance: Protect Teeth With A Custom-Fitted Mouthguard

by Brett Clark

Although Australians spend $8.5 billion on fitness each year, the importance of a custom-fitted mouthguard when playing contact sports is being overlooked. Recently a South Australia hockey player ended up with severe dental and facial trauma due to wearing a cheap, generic mouthguard. Even worse, a Griffith University study reveals that a large percentage of young players do not wear mouthguards at all.

For safety and aesthetic reasons, a custom-fitted mouthguard should be just as important as the right shoes, shin guards and head gear for both children and adults.

How Mouthguards Protect Players

A good mouthguard can help you avoid expensive, time-consuming dental work in the case of a blow to the mouth. It can also help prevent other serious physical injuries. Here are some of the best reasons to wear a professionally-fitted mouthguard.

Tooth fractures: Mouthguards stop your teeth from being broken. If a tooth is fractured, it may result in root canal treatment and even extraction.

Tooth displacement: A mouthguard acts as a cushion for your teeth and allows force to be distributed evenly in the case of a blow. This makes it less likely that one of your teeth will be loosened.

Tooth knocked out: A missing tooth can affect your smile, eating habits and even your speech. If you are lucky, it might be saved. For children who lose a baby tooth, a space maintainer may be needed. For adults, a plate may have to be worn to replace the tooth.

Soft tissue damage: If your teeth cut through your lip, tongue or cheek, it can be painful and disfiguring. Usually stitches will be required. A mouthguard can prevent teeth penetrating the soft tissue in these areas.

Concussions: Research has shown that a custom-made mouthguard can protect significantly against concussion and head injuries. By absorbing shock and limiting movement, a well-fitted mouthguard is one factor which helps prevent serious damage after a blow to the head.

Jaw fractures: The plastic on your mouthguard acts as padding and prevents your jaw from fracturing if a blow occurs. Wiring up a jaw involves major surgery and weeks of recovery.

Why Professional Mouthguards Are Best

Whilst store-bought mouthguards are cheaper, professionally-made mouthguards offer greater protection. They are uniquely fitted to your individual tooth structure and your dentist will also take into account factors such as age and the type of sport being played. Here are the advantages of a custom-fitted mouthguard.

  • The fitting will be exact so the mouthguard will stay in place if an impact occurs.

  • The plastic is thicker, therefore providing more cushioning in case of impact.

  • As the fit is exact and more comfortable, it is less likely to be damaged by a player grinding or chewing on it.

  • Children's tooth structure can change as they get older. During bi-annual dental visits, the mouthguard can be professionally cleaned and adjustments made if necessary.

Put Money Where Your Mouth Is

Clearly, a little expense and extra effort can save a lot of cash and crying in the long-term. Your dentist can advise you about the best options for a custom-fitted mouthguard. Do not omit this vital piece of equipment when playing contact sports.

Contact a dentist from a clinic like The Happy Tooth Muswellbrook if you have specific questions related to oral care.