Dental injuries when playing high-impact sports is a very real possibility. Each year, thousands of athletes injure their oral and facial structures when playing sports like football, basketball, baseball, hockey, wrestling, boxing, and various others. Thankfully, these injuries are entirely preventable with the right custom sports mouth guards. Your dentist will take an impression of the teeth and order a special protective appliance that fits over them. As a result, you’ll avoid losing teeth or have other damage that can cause long-term effects on how you smile, chew, and speak. Experts reveal that impact custom mouth guards are now an essential part of the sports gear that athletes wear. You’ll order the protective layer along with helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, and the right shoes according to the sport you play.
Designing the Mouth Guards Needs Expertise and Precision
Designing custom sports mouth guards is an intricate process and it is best that you work with a dentist who has the necessary training. Your oral care expert will ask you questions about the specific game you play and recommend the right material and structure. Accordingly, you’ll need a material that is not necessarily thick, but sturdy enough to withstand impact. Further, you’ll order mouth guards that are thicker on the front to protect the most vulnerable teeth. Since the back teeth and roof of your mouth are not at risk, the dentist may structure the appliance so that it is thinner on the inside and comfortable to wear. While most mouth guards are designed for wearing on the upper teeth, you can also order a special set for protecting the lower teeth. Again, the kind of game you play will dictate the necessity for single or double dental protectors.
Mouth Guards are Recommended by Experts
The ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention and the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs recommend that athletes wear protective guards for their teeth when playing sports. Research conducted by the organization in the year, 2018 clearly reveals that players who wore custom sports mouth guards had between 82% and 93% lower risk of suffering injuries to their dental and facial structures. Considering that high school students are more prone to oral trauma, the ADA has directed all school sports teams and coaches to make sure that their players have adequate protection for their teeth.
Consult an Expert Dentist to Place Orders
If you belong to a high-end team, the management might organize mouth guards for the players. Many online websites also take orders for the appliances that carry images of the team mascot, colors, or theme. The online store will send you a kit that you can use to take an impression of your teeth and send back. On receiving the mold, the lab formulates the custom sports mouth guards and sends them to you. However, working with an expert dentist is always preferable because she will examine your oral structure and also take digital images. The attention to detail will help you get an appliance that fits better and is much more effective in preventing injuries. You might even get a special protective device that carries your name on it.
Mouth Guards Must Comply with Certain Conditions
The ADA requires that athletes wear specially-designed impact custom mouth guards that comply with certain conditions and carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Some of the conditions are listed below.
- The appliance should not have any jagged or sharp edges that can damage the soft tissues of the mouth.
- The components of the appliance should not contain any harmful substances that are unsafe for using in the oral cavity. The material should not irritate the tissues.
- When taking impressions, the custom mouth guard dentist should take into account any dental implants, braces, crowns, or fillings the players are wearing. And, order the appliance to fit perfectly around them. Of course, if you normally wear metal braces or any other dental supports that are removable, you’ll want to pull them out for the game.
- The appliance should be easy to clean and maintain.
- The appliance should fit over the teeth securely and remain in place through the duration of the game.
- The wearers should be comfortable with the mouth guards. They should be able to drink and breathe easily and speak clearly. Considering that your performance in the game depends on your ability to take in adequate oxygen and remain hydrated, these simple factors are more critical than you probably realize.
- Given the cost of the appliance, it should last the player at least 5 years.
The American National Standards Institute/American Dental Association (ANSI/ADA) have laid down certain tests to check mouth guards for durability and the ability to prevent tearing. The tests also check for the strength of the material to tolerate high impact. A perfectly designed guard should absorb the energy of the force and redistribute it evenly to prevent trauma. Any dental appliance you choose should pass these mandatory tests.
Types of Mouth Guards Approved by the ANSI/ADA Standard No. 99:2001
The ADA has outlined three different kinds of mouth guards that athletes can opt for.
Ready-to-Use Mouth Guards
Over-the-counter mouth guards are available at your local drugstores or any retail outlet that stocks sporting goods and supplies. These appliances are the cheapest kind and typically the one-size-fits-all type that are available in a broad range of sizes. You’ll buy the stock mouth protectors, as they are also called, in generalized sizes that work only so long as you keep your mouth closed. Not having the right kind of protectors is as good as not having any. And, you’ll likely spend a whole lot more money and time in restoring the damage to your teeth. You may also need to opt for cosmetic dentistry in the future to repair cracked, chipped, and broken teeth. For this reason, it is preferable to invest a little more in your gear and include an impact custom mouth guard.
Boil and Bite Mouth Guards
Such dental appliances are only partially customizable, and you can find them at the sports goods retail store or pharmacy. These mouth guards are made of a pliable plastic that you’ll boil to soften. After cooling, you’ll place the guard in your mouth and bite down so it takes the shape of your teeth and dental structure. You’ll also use your fingers to apply adequate pressure to make sure the appliance settles firmly.
Of course, you can request a custom mouth guard dentist to help you mold the mouth protection properly. That’s because, once the plastic sets, it might have extended edges that rub against the gums and irritate them. Your dental practitioner will use a pair of scissors or any other tool to trim the rough sections and give you a smoother fit. The only downside is that you may have to replace these dental protectors often because the soft plastic tends to wear away quickly.
Made-to-Order Mouth Guards
Custom sports mouth guards are certainly a lot more effective than your other options. As the name suggests, these mouth guards are designed especially for your unique oral structure. Once you discuss your requirement with the dentist, she will place the order after taking an impression. The dental laboratory will create a device that fits perfectly and is effective in protecting your teeth when playing high-impact sports. The only downside is that the appliance is more expensive. You’ll also make frequent visits to the dentist while she makes adjustments for a complete fit without the possibility of the device floating or loose in your mouth.
How to Place Orders for the Dental Guards
When you sign up for getting a custom sports mouth guard, the dentist will begin by using a special putty to get a precise impression of your teeth and send it for formulation. The laboratory creating the appliance will use a food-grade thermoplastic material which is tough and durable. The process involves layering the plastic in varying thickness levels to provide complete protection during high-impact sports. Since you’ll get made-to-order mouth guards, you won’t have to worry about the plastic losing its shape or integrity with repeated use. Do keep in mind that a mouth guard for teeth grinding is made differently from an impact custom mouth guard for playing sports, and you cannot interchange the two.
Different Materials Can Be Used to Craft the Mouth Guards
Should you contact a custom mouth guard dentist, she’ll inform you about the availability of different materials for the dental protectors.
Custom Vacuum Formed Mouth Guards
These appliances are crafted out of EVA polyvinyl acetate-polyethylene copolymer. Available in a single sheet, the material is placed on a stone mold. Vacuums tug the copolymer over the mold so that it acquires the desired shape. The mouth guards are better in quality and effectiveness as compared to the Boil and Bite variety. However, you’ll get a protector that has even thickness that cannot be varied to suit the more vulnerable dental structures.
Laminated Pressure-Formed Mouth Guards
These teeth protectors are the latest development in the arena of sports gear. Made with ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), the material is durable and easy to mold. Lab technicians at dental clinics can craft the mouth guards on the spot within a short time using special machines. This teeth protector option is becoming more popular among parents of high school athletes who can’t afford the high costs. You’ll only need a couple of appointments to place the order with the custom mouth guard dentist, and she’ll take care of it for you.
Maintaining Your Mouth Guards
Taking care of your custom sports mouth guards can make them last longer. Here are a few steps to take after use:
- Rinse the teeth protector with cool water and a mouth rinse. You can also use a soap and a soft toothbrush to remove debris.
- Rinse once again in cold water and store in a perforated, durable container that will prevent pressure and distorting the mouth guard.
- Make sure the container is ventilated so the appliance remains safe. In case the device is made with acrylic, store it in clean water when not in use.
- Place the device in an area where it will not be exposed to excessive heat. Like, for instance, direct sunlight, hot water, hot surfaces, or even, in a car parked outside on a hot, summer day.
- Each time you take off the impact custom mouth guard, examine it for wear, holes, tears, or cracks. If you sense discomfort when wearing the teeth protector, it’s time to order a new one.
- Bring the mouth guard when you visit the dentist for a checkup. She’ll examine it and ensure functionality.
Mouth Guards are an Essential Part of Your Sports Equipment
Whether you’re a high school athlete or a pro playing in high-profile championships and matches, a set of custom sports mouth guards is an indispensable part of your gear and equipment. As experts will inform you, it is advisable not to consider teeth protection as an unnecessary expense. Taking care of your teeth on the field will save you from painful injuries that can impair your abilities to eat and speak. You may also develop related health problems later in life because of a damaged dental structure.
If you’re not sure about the appropriate mouth guards, it helps to consult an expert dental practitioner. Visit Dr. Jennifer Silver at Macleod Trail Dental and talk about your requirements. The doctor will examine you and make the right suggestions on the kind of mouth guards to opt for. Feel free to talk about your concerns regarding the costs and durability of the appliances.
Ready to schedule an appointment? We welcome you to add your details on our Contact Us page, so we can get back to you. If you would prefer to talk to a live agent for information, please call this number: (403) 253-1248. Without delay!
- Oral Health Topics – Mouth Guards
- What Are Sports Mouth Guards?
- Dental Health Mouth Guards
- What Type of Mouthguard Do I Need?
- Custom-made mouthguards and prevention of orofacial injuries in sports
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Dr. Jennifer Silver is one of the top dental surgeons practicing in Calgary, Alberta using an innovative multi-disciplinary approach to helping her patients. She believes in offering expert advice and make recommendations to patients just as she would to a family member. Dr. Silver collaborates with a large network of specialists and taps into their expertise to provide holistic care.
Dr. Jennifer Silver has earned a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her academic qualifications include deans honours list, an oral surgery award and best research project. Before attaining this degree, she graduated with honors from Dalhousie University’s Dental Hygiene Program and worked in the sphere of dentistry for 10 years. Dr. Silver is currently helping patients with dental issues such as TMJ pain and sleep apnea in addition to dentistry. She is keenly interested in constantly upgrading her skills and hopes to gain additional training in oral surgery in the future.