Why Players Should Wear Custom Sports Mouth Guards
By : Dr. Samson Lee, D.D.S.
Every day, people get hurt playing sports in Scarborough. Most often, they are aged between 20 and 64, although adolescents also get their fair share of sports injuries. Many of the injuries take the form of impact to the head, neck and face, and these can have a serious effect on your long-term health. Oral injuries, particularly, have significant medical, financial, cognitive, psychological and social costs.
From broken, loose and missing teeth to cut lips, gum tissue trauma, a fractured or dislocated jawbone, to concussions, these injuries result in long-term treatment costs. However, many oral sports injuries are preventable through the use of a custom sports mouth guard, which we can provide you with at our dental office in Scarborough.
Type of Sports
Athletes in many types of sports use mouth guards. Hockey (both on and off the ice) can be a particularly dangerous activity, with a typical puck weighing in at 170 grams and moving at speeds of around 170 km/h. Players have become so accustomed to the need for mouth guards that 90% of NHL players use them, even though the league doesn’t mandate the use.
Basketball has an even higher injury rate than hockey, and other contact sports where mouth guards are recommended include football, soccer and lacrosse. Non-contact sports often carry a high risk of falling, which means participants in any of the following sports benefit from wearing a well-fitted mouth guard for athletes.
- Ice hockey
- Field hockey
What to Look for In a Mouth Guard
While we can’t overstate the importance of mouth guards in sports, you can’t purchase just any appliance and expect it to deliver the same results as a custom sports mouth guard. For this reason, the team at our dental office in Scarborough recommends choosing to have the device you need manufactured specifically for you. The mouth guard needs to:
- Prevent cuts and bruising during impact
- Cushion the teeth to prevent fractures and breakages
- Protect opposite teeth from contact with each other
- Support and protect the lower jaw to prevent damage from impact
- Reduce injury to the brain caused by the jaws jarring violently together including concussions
- Prevent impact that can cause neck injuries
- Help the wearer feel more comfortable and protected.
Benefits of Custom Mouth Guards in Sports
A dental sports mouth guard acts as a shock absorber during high-impact activities, helping to protect you against jaw fractures and concussions. Mouth guards are not all made the same, however, so it’s essential to determine your needs before you spend money. Stock mouth guards and the “boil-and-bite” model are cheaper than a custom sports mouth guard, but they don’t come with many other benefits.
Stock mouth guards only come in a few sizes and don’t always fit well or cover all the teeth adequately. The wearer then needs to clench their teeth to keep the guard in place, making it difficult to breathe and talk normally. Trimming the mouth guard to fit better weakens the structure and defeats the purpose of wearing it.
The “boil-and-bite” mouth guards are made of cheap, bulky rubber, and even after warming them up and moulding them to fit, they are reported to be uncomfortable. These mouth guards tear easily, and many players avoid wearing them because of the discomfort. Everyone’s mouth is different, and a one-size-fits-all product is unlikely to work for the vast majority of patients.
A custom sports mouth guard is manufactured in a laboratory environment specifically for each patient, based on your mouth’s digital dimensions and impressions. This gives you a much greater chance of a comfortable fit. They can be made to fit over braces for patients undergoing orthodontic treatment, and are designed to have the maximum oxygen flow vital in high-intensity sports.
For more information or to be evaluated for custom sports mouth guards for you and your family members, schedule a consultation with our friendly, experienced dental office in Scarborough. Please call 416-291-3117 or click here to make an appointment today.