Types of Sports Mouthguards
Sporting activities are the most common cause of dental injuries. Injuries to the mouth and jaw can result in broken or cracked teeth and jaw and joint fractures, all which can be painful and expensive to treat. Wearing a mouthguard while participating in sport helps prevent injuries to the mouth, lips, cheeks, and tongue. They also help cushion blows that can cause jaw fractures. An effective mouthguard should be comfortable yet tight-fitting, allow normal speech, breathing and swallowing, be odourless and tasteless, not cause gagging and be thick enough to provide protection against impact.
There are three basic types of mouthguards:
* Custom-fitted: these mouthguards are individually made at the dentist. To fabricate a custom mouthguard impression of your teeth are taken, and the mouthguard is then moulded over the model of your teeth. They provide the best protection due to their close fit, comfort, and cushioning effect. Custom mouthguards can last for years however, they are the most expensive option.
* Stock: these mouthguards come pre-formed and ready to wear. They are the cheapest option and can be bought at most sporting and department stores. However, they also offer the least amount of protection and tend to be uncomfortable and fit poorly.
* Boil and bite: these mouthguards are made from thermoplastic material. The material is placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using a finger and tongue pressure. They can also be brought at many sporting stores and pharmacies and can offer a better fit than stock mouthguards. A boil-and-bite mouthguard should be replaced each sporting season.