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Sports mouthguards are worn over the teeth to protect them from injury during sports. According to the Journal of American Dental Association, about 13 to 39% of all dental injuries happen during sports. The National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety also maintains that athletes who do not wear sports mouthguards are 60 times more likely to sustain injury to their teeth.
Mouthguards are trays made of reinforced plastic and are designed to distribute the force of a blow equally to prevent injury to your teeth and other parts of the mouth. This is why, at Sabeti Cosmetic Dentistry, we strongly recommend the use of mouthguards while playing sports.
Who Needs To Wear Sports Mouthguards
Many people think that they need to use mouthguards only when they are playing sports with high contact and collision incidents. However, sports mouthguards can benefit you even during non-contact sports and recreational activities.
Sports like boxing, wrestling, martial arts, soccer, rugby, football, basketball, gymnastics, bicycling, and skateboarding can result in injury that can require life-long treatment. A fractured or knocked out tooth or damage to the jaw are some injuries that require extensive repair work. Dental restorative work does not last all your life, so a damaged tooth can become a life-long problem.
A mouthguard can prevent such injuries.
Can You Use Sports Mouthguards If You Have Braces?
Yes. Sports mouthguards are particularly important for athletes with braces. This is because a blow to the face is likely to not just damage the orthodontic brackets in your mouth but can also lead to severe injuries like cut lips and gums when the metal orthodontia is driven into the soft tissue.
Generally, sports mouthguards are designed to be worn only the upper arch of the teeth but if you wear orthodontic devices on your lower teeth, you should wear a mouthguard on the lower arch as well.
It is advised that you take out any removable orthodontic devices like retainers and dentures while you are playing sports. An exception can sometimes be made for Invisalign aligners which may be worn along with a sports mouthguard.
Types of Sports Mouthguards
There are three types of mouthguards that are readily available:
These mouthguards are very cheap and come in a few select sizes. Most stock mouthguards only cover the top of your teeth. As such, they do not fit well and may feel bulky in smaller mouths. They are also not made of high-grade protective plastic and are prone to breakage. Since they are not made to fit, they can make speaking and breathing difficult and may become dislodged during contact sports. This means they only afford a very low degree of protection to athletes during sports.
You can find stock mouthguards at pharmacies or sporting good stores though we do not recommend their use.
Boil-and-bite mouthguards come in the form of trays that can be softened and molded to your teeth by boiling them. After boiling them, athletes can place them in their mouth and bite on them for a more customized fit.
Like stock mouthguards, boil-and-bite mouthguards are also sold in pharmacies and sporting goods stores. They provide a better level of protection and comfort than stock mouthguards, and many athletes prefer them.
At Sabeti Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Shohreh Sabeti can get you fitted for a custom-made mouthguard. These mouthguards are made of hard plastic, which does not break easily and affords the highest level of protection to your mouth. Since the design is custom-fitted, athletes have an easier time speaking and breathing while wearing these mouthguards.
At Sabeti Cosmetic Dentistry, we will create an impression of your teeth and use it to make a customized mouthguard for you. This means you will not need to worry about your mouthguard being dislodged while you are playing sports.
How Long Do Sports Mouthguards Last
Since stock mouthguards are made of cheap material, they do not wear well at all and can easily rip during your first match. Boil-and-bite mouthguards are better, but they can also develop tears if you receive a hard blow to the mouth.
On the other hand, custom-fit mouthguards are very resilient and durable and can last you for the entire season. It is recommended that you replace them every six months since they can wear down over time, making them less protective. Children also continue to grow their teeth and jaw, so any changes in their bone structure can cause the mouthguards to lose their fit.
If you want to get your custom-fit mouthguards, call us at (213) 314-0636 today.