Monday, August 18, 2014

Are Mouth Protectors for Sports Effective?

Are mouth protectors effective?

It only takes one wrong move, one chance collision with another player in a game to change the look of your smile. A lost or damaged tooth due to a mouth injury can not only change the way you look, but how you eat and speak for a lifetime.

Many dentists recommend the use of mouth protectors to help reduce the impact of an unexpected blow to the face, especially for young people. A mouthguard, worn typically over the upper teeth, can help lessen the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the tongue, lip, jaw and face. Mouth protectors are effective for people participating in both recreational and organized activities including non-contact sports such as skating and gymnastics.

The ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations and the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs both recognize that dental injuries are typical in sports and promote the importance of maintaining oral heath through the use of a well-fitted mouthguard to help reduce both the incidence and severity of a dental injury.

There are three types of mouthguard options to help protect your oral health:

•Custom - this mouthguard would be specially-made to fit your mouth by your dentist using a dental model of your mouth by either the vacuum-forming or heat pressure lamination technique. Since it is customized, it costs more than store-bought ones, but it offers the best fit.

•Boil and bite - this mouthguard, made from a thermoplastic material, can be purchased at most sporting good stores and drugstores. While it's not custom made by your dentist, it can be softened in boiling water and inserted to mold to the shape of your mouth. The protection from this type of mouthguard and oral comfort level varies.

•Stock - this mouthguard comes pre-formed and ready to be inserted into the mouth. Because of this, these type of mouth protectors don't typically fit well and can be uncomfortable. They also must be held in place by clenching the teeth which ultimately could interfere with breathing and speaking. In a pinch, a stock mouthguard can still offer much-needed oral protection.

While most mouthguards are typically made for the upper teeth, if you wear braces, it could be equally beneficial to have a lower mouth protector made. Talk to your dentist about the activities you are involved in so he or she will be able to guide you to the oral protection that's right for you.

Please contact Cambridge Family Dentistry for a free consultation if you have any questions or concerns about protecting your mouth while playing sports. You can speak to one of our friendly staff members anytime to learn more about our clinic, ask a question or schedule an appointment. Please contact us by calling: (316) 687-2110 or toll-free (877) 687-2110. We look forward to meeting you. The Cambridge Family Dentistry clinic is located at 2020 N. Webb Road in Wichita, Kansas
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