With so many tantalizing sports to play, one thing we don’t often think about is how the sport will affect our teeth. Sports are fun, enjoyable, entertaining, and healthy activity for our bodies. But, they can also lead to accidents and harm if we do not take precautions when we play. Our teeth, in particular, are susceptible to damage. Teeth can be broken, chipped, cracked or fractured, or even be knocked out during sports. Mouth guards can help protect teeth. They allow you to play hard while maintaining your full smile.
If you play sports, mouth guards are essential to protect your smile.
What are mouth guards?
Mouth guards are a tough plastic or rubber covering for your upper teeth, and in some cases lower teeth. They protect your teeth from damage while you play the sports that you love. Mouth guards are not only for adults, but are also for children.
Why are mouth guards needed?
Contact sports present a great risk of potential injury. It makes sense to protect ourselves as much as we can. After all, we protect other parts of our body from injuries by using:
- Knee guards,
- Shin guards,
- Elbow guards,
- Shoulder pads, and other types of protective gear.
Why not protect your teeth as well? After all, your smile is worth it.
What if I wear braces?
Adults and children who wear braces can sometimes find some activities challenging. But, even if you wear braces, you can still wear a mouth guard and protect your teeth as well as your braces from damage.
What kinds of mouth guards are available to choose from?
There are generally three different kinds of mouthguards available:
- Prefabricated mouth guards,
- Adjustable mouth guards,
- Custom mouth guards.
What is the difference between prefabricated and custom mouth guards?
Prefabricated mouth guards are the least expensive and are available at most pharmacies. The problem with these mouth guards comes with their design. Since they come prefabricated, there are little to no adjustments that you can make with them if they don’t fit quite right. They also provide a bulky, uncomfortable experience and most dentists do not recommend them.
Adjustable mouth guards are a little better. They allow for some adjustment. Their thermoplastic material softens in hot water. Thus, before you can wear them, you will need to boil them and then bite down on them as they begin to cool. As a result, they provide a better fit than the prefabricated versions. Yet, they are not perfect and some can still feel bulky. Also, you need to practice caution when you put them in your mouth after they’ve been in the hot water.
Custom mouth guards are the third and final kind of mouth guard available. These are only available through your dentist’s office. They are the most expensive kind of mouth guards, but they also provide the most comfort. They are custom made according to your specific bite.
How are custom mouth guards created?
Sometimes a dentist will have a dental lab make a custom-made mouth guard. This means taking impressions. That means that Dr. Gotora will take an impression of your teeth. This type of mouthguard is customized to your specific bite. Dr. Gotora will mold a mouthguard over your teeth and ask you to bite down to create the impression. While the special materials, time and work mean a higher price, it is worth it in the end. You will have a custom mouth guard that provides you with a level of comfort that other mouth guards can not offer.
How do I care for my mouth guard?
Caring for your mouth guard is simple.
Before and after you use your mouthguard, rinse it under cold water. Or, you can clean it with a mild soap and toothbrush.
Use a perforated container to store it or transport it. Perforations are necessary to allow for air circulation. If your mouthguard is acrylic, then you should store it in clean water to keep it moist.
Keep your mouthguard away from high temperatures. That includes hot water, direct sunlight, and hot surfaces. All these can potentially distort the shape of your mouthguard.
Check the structure of your mouthguard from time to time. If you find any signs of damage such as holes or tears, or if it no longer fits snug and comfortable, it is time to replace it.
If you have a custom mouth guard, bring it with you to your regular dental visits so Dr. Gotora can examine it for wear.
How do I get a custom mouth guard in my area?
Are you considering playing sports? If so, also consider getting a custom mouth guard from Stellar Dental. We will make each mouth guard specifically for each patient.
If you are still unsure, or would like more information, come in and see us today. Stellar Dental has two locations for your convenience. Contact us to schedule your consultation. Call our Silver Spring, MD, office at (301) 754-1900 or Hyattsville, MD, office at (301) 853-1567.