What Is A Mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a flexible custom-fitted device or mouth protector that may be worn over the teeth during competitions or recreational activities, it works by reducing impact damage, stopping the teeth from breaking or experiencing any form of damage caused by force.
This is extremely essential if you have braces, fixed anterior bridgework or simply want to preserve your teeth or smile from possible trauma. People who wear braces are susceptible to damage from lower impact contact than those without as the metal can cut flesh inside the mouth.
Why Do You Need A Mouthguard?
Dental injuries are very common among professional athletes and casual players alike, especially those involved in contact sports. Experts state these types of athletes who engage in contact sports are 60 times more vulnerable to teeth damage when not wearing protective mouthguards. Most often they experience permanent oral damage which needs special medical attention and even oral surgery.
Preventing dental injuries on the sporting field can be done by using a mouthguard to reduce the possibility of concussions during trainings or actual competition. Athletes involved in competitive or recreational sports where collisions or contact with the opponent are likely to occur are highly recommended to wear mouthguards.
For Which Sports Should I Wear A Mouthguard?
Wearing mouthguards should be considered for most sports but the following sports tend to have a higher rate of dental emergencies than others:
- Martial Arts
- Rugby Union
- Water polo
- Rugby league
- Aussie rules
Experts also suggest that players should wear mouthguards for their safety during practice as well as during competition.
A mouthguard is a very important piece of protective gear especially if you are involved in boxing, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, BJJ or MMA, it’s no doubt a special requirement! An MMA mouthguard will prevent you from biting your tongue as well as protecting the soft tissues inside of your cheek. It will also prevent you from having your teeth knocked out or broken. Studies suggest a mouthguard can also help prevent potential oral and head injuries. Whatever combat sport you are in, always wear a mouthguard.
Mouthguards generally come in three types:
Price Range $5-$30
Stock mouthguards can be easily bought in sporting goods stores and pharmacies. They are usually pre-formed and ready-to-wear. They are affordable but may be slightly uncomfortable and inhibit you’re ability to talk. They are made of rubber or polyvinyl that can be bulky and make breathing difficult because they need the jaw to close to hold them intact in the mouth.
Price Range $15-$65
Next is the mouth-formed mouthguards that can be either shell liner or boil-and-bite type. The shell liner type uses acrylic gel or rubber that is moulded to the teeth and keeps its shape.
The boil-and-bite type is made of thermoplastic that softens when put in boiling water. Once soft the wearer can mould the guard to their teeth contours using the fingers, lips, tongue and biting pressure. These mouthguards can be refitted if they do not fit comfortably the first time. Both of these types of mouthguards are available online and most chemists and sporting goods stores.
Custom Fitted Mouthguards
Price Range $80+
This option is quite expensive compared to the two types of mouthguards. But in terms of comfort and protection, they provide the greatest fit. They are made from a cast taken of your teeth resulting in superior formation and comfort. Your dentist and dental laboratory technician usually collaborate to develop the custom-fitted mouthguard.
Such mouthguards cover all the teeth and prevent damage that may be caused by falls and blows to the chin. Some custom-fitted mouthguards have solid external layers with tender inner linings to provide comfort to the teeth and gums. Some are made of acrylic. Others are semi-rigid. They can also be made with supplementary materials for athletes allergic to acrylics.