There are a variety of reasons to wear protective mouth guards. They are oral appliances and go under different names. Whereas some are referred to as oral splints or oral appliances, other types are called night guards, athletic or sports guards and dental mouth pieces. Some of these will help to reduce snoring and others serve to combat grinding of one’s teeth. Let us look at the specific type that guards against damage when playing a sport.
The purpose of wearing a sports mouth guard
During contact sport there can be frequent blows to the mouth. It is then that a mouth guard becomes essential to cushion the blows and to prevent damage. In the case of children the teeth can be broken and injuries can also occur to the jaw, lips or tongue when a blow to the mouth takes place without mouth protection being worn. It is calculated that the risk is twice as likely for an injury to take place without the protection of a sports guard as with one.
The people that can benefit from wearing a sports guard
Both children and adults playing contact sports are urged to wear sports guards. In fact, for children involved in contact sports many specialists also recommend faceguards and the wearing of orofacial protectors. There are some orthodontists that recommend protective wear for all patients participating in recreational activities where there is a possible threat of any type of injury to their mouths. Athletes pursuing football, hockey, basketball, lacrosse and boxing should ensure that the guards they are wearing are fitting properly. Any contact sport such as wrestling or martial arts can also pose a risk and a guard is always a welcome addition.
The different types of guards that are available
There are multiple types of sports guards that can be worn to provide oral and dental protection. It is important, though, that they are fitting properly and that they stay in place. Parents can avail themselves from ready-made guards for their children that are found in many sporting goods stores. Those guards that are inexpensive should be carefully looked at as they are often bulky and the guard is often removed as it makes speech and breathing difficult thus rendering it ineffective. The “boil and bite” type can also stick to wires and are not suitable for those fitted with braces.
A custom made mouth guard
The best option by far is a custom made mouth guard. These are made in a dental office and offer the best protection and comfort. As an impression of the teeth is taken a mold can be made of the entire arch of the mouth. This assures a perfect fit of the mouth rather than just the biting surface. Although the sports guard is typically made to fit only the upper teeth it can also be made for the lower teeth.
Custom sports guards for the mouth are durable and guarantee a perfect fit and superior protection. It is a good idea to discuss such a guard next time one is visiting the dental office.