According to the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), as many as 39% of dental trauma each year are sports-related. Many of these injuries can be avoided with the use of mouthguards and helmets, and by following the safety regulations of the sport you are playing. Unorganized sports like biking and skateboarding may not mandate the use of mouthguards but they are still strongly suggested by the ADA.
Types of Mouthguards
There are three types of mouthguards available that range both in cost and the amount of protection they provide. Before purchasing a mouthguard, be sure to double-check which types are acceptable for the sport you are playing or even the league rules. Some cheaper options that provide less protection may not be allowed.
- Ready-to-wear: These types of mouthguards are already formed and, just as the name implies, are ready to wear. They aren’t formed to your mouth in any way, which makes them the least protective but they are also usually the least expensive option. They are available over-the-counter in the sporting goods department at many stores.
- Boil-and-bite: Each brand will have its own instructions for molding the thermoplastic material to your bite. Typically, you place it in hot water to soften the material and then bite down into the guard once you’ve lined it up properly to make an impression of your teeth. Once the material is set, your mouthguard is molded to your bite. These offer more protection than ready-to-wear mouthguards and are still an affordable option available over-the-counter.
- Custom-molded mouthguards: The mouthguard that will offer the most protection is one designed by your dentist. It is custom-made to your bite of durable, comfortable materials. This is the most expensive option but the additional protection may prevent more severe sports-related dental trauma, saving money and discomfort later on.
When to Wear One
The simple answer to “when should you wear a mouthguard” is anytime you are participating in a contact sport and there is a risk of sports-related dental trauma. This can be an organized sport like football or baseball, or it could be a neighborhood activity like skateboarding. Even when taking your mountain bike down your favorite trail it’s suggested that you wear a mouthguard because you may fall or wreck and receive a blow to your mouth or jaw.
Your mouthguard should be comfortable, easy to clean, and offer maximum protection against sports-related dental trauma. To learn more about a custom-made mouthguard, call Nimmi Shine Dental in San Diego, CA.