Mouth guards are flexible devices worn over the teeth and gums to prevent damage, braces damage, to protect bridgework, and the shape of your mouth and teeth. An ideal guard does not restrict breathing or speech and should comfortably fit over upper teeth while staying in place during athletic activities.
When Do You Need A Mouth Guard?
Not all sports require the use of mouth guards. The U.S. National Collegiate Athletic Association does not require their use in all sports. Those participating in ice hockey, lacrosse, field hockey and football must wear a guard to play. Use with all other sports is optional. It’s wise to know your own body regardless of association rules. If you have dental issues, weakened teeth, braces and bridges use of a mouth piece is undoubtedly a good idea.
What Kind Of Damage Can Occur?
Keep in mind that guards not only protect against damaged teeth but injuries to the jaw, and bones as well. While sports are rewarding, we run the risk of more serious injuries, especially when not wearing a guard. Some of these include concussions, cerebral hemorrhage, and neck injuries from jaw fractures. This occurs when the lower jaw quickly slams into the upper jaw during sports. Mouth guards help prevent these injuries.
Types Of Mouth Guards
Now that you know the type of injuries that can occur when not wearing a mouthguard you may be wondering what kind of guard to get.
Stock mouth guards
Stock are performed and ready to wear.
Mouth-formed mouth guards
Mouth-formed are shell liner or boil-and-bite.
Custom-fitted mouth guards
Custom-fitted are cast to the teeth, are more expensive and provide the greatest degree of protection, as they cover all the teeth.
Visiting an orthodontist or orthopedic dentist to discuss yours or your child’s individual needs and what is best for your situation is best in determining the appropriate mouth guard. This may largely depend on what type of sports you or your child are involved in, and the potential for injury.
For more information on selecting mouthguards, contact us today!