Most people aren’t sure whether or not they should be wearing a mouthguard during certain types of physical activity. Unfortunately, most of us do go without a mouthguard and end up with facial trauma, be it temporary or permanent (such as losing a tooth).
As a guide, we have listed several questions to help you better understand the reasons behind wearing a mouthguard, and why a custom-fitted mouthguard will give you the best protection.
If your question isn’t answered below, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for the answer!
DO I NEED A MOUTHGUARD?
Anyone who participates in a sport that could cause injury should wear a mouthguard (i.e. football, hockey, martial arts, baseball, gymnastics, volleyball, roller derby, etc). Mouthguards which cover the upper teeth can cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF USING A MOUTHGUARD?
Accidents can happen during any physical activity. A mouthguard can help cushion a blow to the face that otherwise might result in an injury to the mouth. A misdirected elbow in a one-on-one basketball game or a spill off a bicycle can leave you with chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth, or even tooth loss. A mouthguard can limit the risk of such injuries, as well as protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips, and cheek lining.
A properly fitted mouthguard (i.e., GRiT) will stay in place while you are wearing it, making it easy for you to talk and breathe.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MOUTHGUARDS? There are 3 types of mouthguards:
STOCK: Stock mouthguards are inexpensive and come preformed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.
BOIL-AND-BITE: Boil-and-bite mouthguards also can be bought at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouthguards. They should be softened in water, then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. If you don’t follow the directions carefully you can wind up with a poor-fitting mouthguard.
CUSTOM-FITTED: Custom-fitted mouthguards are made by your dentist for you personally. They cost a little more than the other versions, but because they are customized they can offer a better fit than anything you can buy off the shelf. GRiT Mouthguards is an example of a custom-fitted mouthguard.
I WEAR BRACES. CAN I USE A MOUTHGUARD?
A properly fitted mouthguard may be especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouthguard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, limiting the risk of soft tissue injuries.
Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about selecting a mouth protector that will provide the best protection. Although mouthguards typically only cover the upper teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest that you use a mouthguard on the lower teeth if you have braces on these teeth too.
If you have a retainer or other removable appliance, do not wear it during any contact sports.
Courtesy of the American Dental Association (http://www.ada.org/2970.aspx#top)