The Importance of Mouthguards
Date: 24 September 2015 Category: Dental health
Dental injuries are one of the most common injuries sustained through contact sports, and those who do not wear a mouthguard are 60% more likely to damage their teeth than those who do. When you think about the potential trauma and cost involved to repair or treat a damaged tooth, it makes sense to wear a properly fitting mouthguard, made by your dentist, to prevent any possible damage.
Mouthguards work by providing a layer of cushioning around the teeth, protecting them from damage. They absorb shock from any impacts, and also prevent your lips and cheeks from being injured by your teeth. According to the British Dental Health Foundation, custom made mouthguards may even help to prevent injuries to your neck and brain, by limiting the damage caused by heavy impacts. Stuart Campbell, Assistant Coach for Cardiff Blues Rugby Club, explains that by protecting from injury, the use of a properly fitting mouthguard can also be beneficial to players’ training, “with the period of time that players who have had concussion need to sit out playing, the mouthguard benefits both players and coach”.
There are two main options when getting a sports mouthguard; the at home “boil and bite” kits, or a custom guard made by your dentist. At home kits may offer some protection, but they can be bulky, and they work on the idea of “one size fits all”, but because everyone’s teeth and jaws are different, they only offer limited protection. Having a mouthguard custom made by your dentist ensures that it fits your mouth properly, and gives you maximum protection. Centre for Dentistry dentist, Dr Aatif Siddique, explains that using a custom guard instead of an at home kit may even help to improve your performance, as they are less bulky and could allow for a better intake of oxygen during exercise.
The process of having a mouthguard made at Centre for Dentistry is simple. Your dentist will make impressions (moulds) of your teeth, and these will then be sent to our dental lab where the guard is made. You can even have your mouthguard personalised, for example your name, team colours, flags, a variety of patterns, even glitter! Just let your dentist know when you have your impressions made. Usually around a week later, your guard will be ready to collect, and your dentist will check that it fits correctly. You will be given care instructions and a protective case to keep it in. We recommend that you bring your mouthguard with you to your routine check-ups, to ensure that it continues to fit well and offer maximum protection.