Do I need a custom-made mouth guard? Image

21 JANUARY 2016

Do I need a custom-made mouth guard?

It’s here again, the time of year where we are getting geared up to commence sporting competitions. When checking whether those footy boots and shorts still fit, don’t forget to check the mouth guard!

Wearing a mouth guard whilst playing sports helps to minimise damage to the face, mouth and jaws from accidental trauma during sport. Mouth guards are recommended to be worn in any sport where there is a risk of direct contact to the face (for example rugby league, rugby union, AFL, soccer, hockey, boxing etc.). Even accidental elbows in low impact contact sports can result in trauma to the face, mouth and jaws. So it’s important to think about the need for a mouth guard in your/your child’s sporting life. Protecting yourself or your children from dental trauma during sport can reduce both time off work or school and the costs associated with reconstructive dental care as a result of accidental sporting trauma.

It has been estimated that dental injuries are the most common type of facial injuries in contact sport, however, according to the Australian Dental Association (ADA), only 36% of children aged 5-17 years wear a mouth guard when playing sport.

Mouth guards should ideally be custom-made and professionally fitted by your Dentist to ensure the best protection. Your Dentist will take an impression of your mouth from which the mouth guard will be made to fit securely around your individual teeth.

“Boil and bite” mouth guards that are purchased over the counter in pharmacies or sports stores are often bulky and ill-fitting and usually end up on the ground or in your sock where they offer very little protection to your only set of permanent teeth! Thus, while they may be cheaper to purchase initially, think carefully about the protection you need and prefer.

What custom-made mouth guards help to do:

  • Provide maximum protection by cushioning teeth, jaws and surrounding soft tissue against impact. Mouth guards both absorb and distribute the force of an impact.
  • Protect individual teeth and reduce the chance of teeth being knocked out.
  • Reduce soft tissue injury – as the teeth are covered by the mouth guard and there is less chance of teeth going through lips, biting tongues or inner cheeks.
  • Allow athletes to breathe easy as they stay in place and fit snugly around your teeth
  • Reduce the chance of bone fractures and concussion.

Looking after your custom-made mouth guard

Mouth guards should be rinsed after use with cold water and stored away from direct heat in the mouth guard box provided. Regularly check your mouth guard for any defects/wear facets to ensure maximum protection.

Mouth guards for children should be checked regularly for fit, especially during the growing years where baby teeth are being lost, adult teeth are erupting and jaws are changing. Children generally need a new mouth guard every season during these times. Your Dentist can check the fit of your child’s mouth guard at their regular 6 monthly check up.

For a custom-made mouth guard contact your local Pacific Smiles Dental Centre.