Each year, nearly five million sports injuries lead to dental emergencies. Dental injuries like cracked or broken teeth, tooth loss, and jaw injuries are all too common as the result of sports- both for children and for adults. Mouthguards are more and more commonly seen on the field and on the court to try to keep these dental accidents from occurring- and many athletic organizations are beginning to mandate the use of mouthguards during sporting events. Before running out and getting a protective mouthguard for all the athletes in your family, let’s find out a little more about the three major types of mouthguards on the market today from your Salinas dentist, Dr. Washburn.
Stock mouthguards are sold at most major sports stores and are immediately ready to use. These guards slide right into the mouth, covering the majority of the teeth. Because the guards only come in a few sizes, many wearers choose to cut the plastic of the mouthguards to improve fit and comfort. In doing so, the mouthguard loses much of its effectiveness and can be dangerous for the wearer. While inexpensive, stock mouthguards offer only a relatively low level of protection against tooth damage.
Dr. Washburn, your Salinas dentist, knows Boil-and-bite mouthguards are very common in the sports world. The thermoplastic material used to make these guards softens when placed in boiling water, allowing the wearer to fit the flexible material to their teeth. Although the shaping process allows the wearer to adapt the mouthguard to their mouth, the fit is often not perfect so biting or clenching while wearing the guard might be necessary in order to keep it in position. This type of mouthguard adds protection to the front teeth, but these guards do not reach the back teeth, meaning the posterior teeth are left vulnerable.
Custom mouthguards that are molded by a Salinas dentist ensures that the fit, thickness, and comfort are all ideal for the wearer. These guards are designed to protect all the teeth, even those towards the back of the mouth that are out of reach of most other mouthguards. Because these mouthguards are custom made, your dentist will be able to adjust them in order to best suit your needs. If you are playing a sport that is relatively low contact, your dentist will likely make you a thinner mouthguard, whereas if you are playing a sport that is very high contact, like boxing, your dentist will be sure to make a much thicker mouthguard for your protection. After taking molds of the mouth, your dentist will either create your mouthguard in their office or send it to a lab to make. These mouthguards are made to fit your individual mouth and can even be made in the color or pattern of your liking.
While all mouthguards are helpful to some extent, it is clear to see that not all mouthguards are created equally. To get the very best protection, there is no option as effective as a custom fit mouthguard. Investing in a custom fit mouthguard today could save you and your family a great amount of pain, money, and worry in the future.
To get fit for a custom mouthguard, contact Dr. Washburn’s office today. His staff will be happy to keep all the athletes in your life safe and ready to play.