Mouthguards and Sportsguards

<< Return to Preventive Dentistry Menu


Getting the Bite on Sportsguards

Helmets, knee pads, shin guards… if you’re an avid athlete or the parent of one, you know the importance of proper protective gear. But did you know that up to 40 percent of all sports injuries involve the face? Protect your smile and your mouth with a comfortable, custom-moldedsportsguard to dramatically reduce the risk of sports-related oral injury.

What is a Sportsguard?

A sportsguard is a comfortable piece of athletic gear that fits over your teeth and can help protect your smile, as well as your lips, tongue, face, and jaw. New research indicates that sportsguards can even reduce the severity of concussions.

While hockey, boxing, and rugby players would obviously benefit from sportsguards, others, like bicyclists, weightlifters, and gymnasts, made the ADA’s list of athletes who need sportsguards. This may sound excessive, but studies show that 13 to 39 percent of all dental injuries are sports related. Because the face is an important part of a person’s image, self confidence, and sometimes success, it’s better to be safe than…toothless!

Before facemasks and sportsguards were required in football, half of all players’ injuries occurred in the mouth. During the playing season, players had a one-in-ten chance of mouth injury. Once high schools and colleges began requiring facemasks and sportsguards, the number of injuries reported dropped by 200,000 per year. Naturally, dentists recommend sportsguards for adults and children in any recreational activity that poses the risk of injury to your mouth.


Types of Sportsguards

Ready-Made Sportsguards

You may have seen ready-made sportsguard in a department or sporting goods store. These generic sportsguards are inexpensive and readily available. Unfortunately, because they are not custom-fitted, they may seem bulky and uncomfortable in your mouth. Ready-madesportsguards are secured by closed jaws which means, when an athlete wears a ready-madesportsguard, speaking and breathing may be difficult.

Mouth-Formed Sportsguard

If you’re looking for something that is more custom fit to your mouth, you might consider mouth-formed sportsguards.  Acrylic, shell liner sportsguards provide a comfortable and secure fit over your natural teeth. Unfortunately, many users report that this sportsguard can have an unpleasant odor or taste. It can also harden over time and lose its flexibility. Another type of mouth-formed sportsguard, the thermoplastic style, can be customized by heating it in water, then biting it. It will take on the shape of your bite. While these maintain their flexibility, they can feel bulky.

Custom-Made Sportsguard

The best solution, custom-made sportsguards are comfortable, practical, and protective. Adentist or lab technician creates the custom-made sportsguard after taking impressions of your teeth.

Before you purchase any sportsguard, talk to your dentist. Special sportsguard or mouth protectors are recommended for patients with braces, removable bridges or dentures, a protruding jaw, or a cleft palate.

Sportsguard Care 

Always wear your sportsguard during practice and games. Never chew on it because you may weaken the material and decrease its effectiveness. Holes, tears, and damage to the sportsguard may irritate your gums or soft tissue. If you notice damage, replace your mouthguardimmediately.

Before and after each use, check your sportsguard for damage and rinse it with cold water or mouthwash. You should regularly clean your guard with a toothbrush and toothpaste or in a solution of soapy water. Be sure to rinse it well and store it in a firm, perforated container. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight or high temperatures.

Most importantly, you should schedule regular dental check-ups, including one right before the playing season starts. When you see your dentist, bring your sportsguard and discuss any problems or concerns you may have.
 

The team at our Hearst, Ontario dental office has made patients of all ages smile for two decades. Call our Hearst dental office today on (705) 372-1601 to reserve checkups or consultations for your family. With 5-star service and a commitment to excellence, Hearst dentist Dr. Gilles Lecours and our team look forward to becoming your preferred dental healthcare providers.