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Why wear a mouthguard during sports?

Playing sports is a great way to stay healthy, but with the best will in the world accidents can and do happen. Sports related dental injuries can result in fractured or chipped teeth, or even in the loss of teeth, leaving you with the prospect of paying for restorative dentistry for the rest of your life.

This is where wearing a properly fitting sports mouthguard will help prevent or at least minimise the damage caused if you take a blow to the mouth.

Do Sports Mouthguards Really Work?

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Up to 39% of dental injuries are sports related*

All the evidence points towards mouthguards protecting your teeth and jaws, although whether they offer protection against concussion is less conclusive. The modern materials used to make today’s sports mouthguards have superior durability and flexibility and shock absorption qualities. A properly designed sports mouthguard is also fabricated to take into account the shape and size of your mouth and it can be thickened to provide additional shock absorbing qualities in critical areas. A well-fitting mouthguard doesn’t cost very much and it is worth considering one if you play sports where there is a real risk of injury to your mouth.

Over-The-Counter or Custom-Made?

There are several different kinds of sports mouthguards available which include over-the-counter sports mouthguards and these tend to fall into two categories.

Stock mouthguards are the cheapest mouthguards you can buy, but they cannot be adjusted in any way and offer the least amount of protection. These types of mouthguards are usually only available in small, medium or large sizes and while better than nothing will provide minimal protection for your teeth and jaws.

The second type are what are often called boil and bite mouthguards. These are made from a thermoplastic material that can be moulded when softened in hot water. The idea is that you soften mouthguard in hot water before placing it in your mouth and shaping it as best you can over your teeth and gums, using the pressure of your fingers and tongue and by biting down. Once again, these will only come in limited sizes and might not even cover your back teeth. Although they may offer a bit more protection than a stock mouthguard, both types tend to be uncomfortable to wear.

In contrast, custom-made sports mouthguards offer the best level of protection.

Why Custom-Made Mouthguards Can Be Best

When you choose a custom-made mouthguard, it will have been designed just for you, here at Tsawwassen Place Dental. Dr. Larry Leslie or Dr. Tom Greene will take a detailed dental impression of your teeth that is used to create an exact model of your mouth. Your mouthguard will be made to fit precisely on the model, using high-quality materials suitable for your chosen sport.

These materials are resilient to tearing, are taste and odour-free and most importantly your mouthguard will be comfortable to wear, so it is far more likely you will use it. If the mouthguard is for a child, it may be possible to provide additional space for teeth yet to erupt and to accommodate the growth of their jaws, depending on their age.

If you love your smile, think about choosing a custom-made mouthguard.

* Source: Crest dental information website www.dentalcare.com

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