What is a mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a device worn over your teeth that protects them from potential trauma during sport. Mouthguards are important for anyone participating in a sport that involves falls, body contact or flying equipment.
This can include football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey, skateboarding, gymnastics, mountain biking — or any such activity that might result in an injury to the mouth.
Mouthguards typically cover the upper teeth and are designed to protect the teeth and the soft tissues that support the teeth.
No matter what type of mouthguard you choose, it should be comfortable and able to protect the teeth and surrounding structures. When mouthguards fit well, they shouldn’t fall out when talking or impede breathing and speech.
- Custom-made mouth guards — Individually designed and made by your dentist or a professional dental laboratory. Often, they are likely to provide the most comfortable fit and best protection. Your dentist makes an impression of your teeth and then constructs the mouth guard over a model of them. Because they fit and feel better, most children prefer customized mouth guards. However, they can be the most expensive of the range of mouthguards available.
- Boil and bite mouth guards — These come in a pre-formed shape that can be altered by boiling the mouth guard in water, then biting into the warm plastic for a customized fit. Although commonly available and used, they are not necessarily the most protective as they can at times be ill-fitting. But they are certainly better than stock mouth guards. They are available at many pharmacists and sporting equipment stores.
- Stock mouth guards — These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and may make breathing and talking difficult.
Mouthguards should ideally be replaced after each season because they can wear down over time, making them less effective. Replacement is especially important in children and adolescents as their mouths continue to grow and teeth continue to develop into adulthood.
Ensure you talk to us about mouthguard for your child during your appointments.