What is a Mouthguard?

A mouthguard is a comfortable piece of athletic gear that fits over your teeth and protects your smile, lips, tongue, face, and jaw. New research indicates that mouthguards may even reduce the severity of concussions.

While hockey, boxing, and football players would obviously benefit from mouthguards, others, like bicyclists, weightlifters, and gymnasts are also on the American Dental Association's list of athletes who need mouthguards. This may sound excessive, but studies show that 13 to 39 percent of all dental injuries are sports related. Because the face is an important part of a person’s image, self-confidence, and sometimes success, it’s better to be safe than toothless!

Before facemasks and mouthguards were required in football, half of all injuries were to the mouth. During the season, players had a one in ten chance of mouth injury. Since high schools and colleges began requiring facemasks and mouthguards, the number of injuries reported has dropped by 200,000 per year! Naturally, dentists and the ADA recommend mouthguards for adults and children during any recreational activity that poses the risk of injury to the mouth.

Types of Mouthguards

With so many kinds of mouthguards available to you, it can be difficult to know which one would be a good choice for you or your loved one. Below are descriptions of some of the options you have and what we can do to protect your smile while you play your favorite sport.

Ready-Made Mouthguards

You may have seen ready-made mouthguards in a department or sporting goods store. These generic mouthguards are inexpensive and readily available. Unfortunately, because they are not custom-fitted, they often feel bulky and uncomfortable in the mouth. Ready-made mouthguards are secured by closed jaws, which means when an athlete wears a ready-made mouthguard, speaking and breathing may be difficult.

Mouth-Formed Mouthguards

If you're looking for something more custom-fit, you might consider mouth-formed mouthguards. Acrylic shell liner mouthguards provide a comfortable and secure fit over your natural teeth. Unfortunately, many users report that these mouthguards have an unpleasant odor or taste, and they may harden over time and lose flexibility. Another type of mouth-formed mouthguard, the thermoplastic style, is customized by heating in water, then biting it. It takes on the shape of your bite. While they maintain flexibility, they can feel bulky.

Custom-Made Mouthguards

The best solution, custom-made mouthguards, are comfortable, practical, and protective. We will create the mouthguard after taking impressions of your teeth.

Before you purchase a mouthguard, talk to us. Special mouthguards or mouth protectors are recommended for patients with braces, removable bridges or dentures, a protruding jaw, or a cleft palate.

Mouthguard Care

Always wear your mouthguard during practice and games. Never chew on it because you may weaken the material and decrease its effectiveness. Holes, tears, and damage to the mouthguard may irritate your gums or soft tissue. If you notice damage, replace your mouthguard immediately.

Before and after each use, check your mouthguard for damage and rinse it with cold water or mouthwash. You should regularly clean your guard with a toothbrush and toothpaste or a solution of soapy water. Be sure to rinse well and store it in a firm, perforated container. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight or exposing it to high temperatures.

Most importantly, you should schedule regular dental check-ups, including one right before the playing season starts. When you see your dentist, bring your mouthguard and discuss problems or concerns you may have.

ADA & ASD Advice

The American Dental Association and the Academy of Sports Dentistry recommend mouthguards for athletes who participate in:

  • Acrobatics
  • Field Hockey
  • Racquetball
  • Squash
  • Bandi
  • Football
  • Rugby
  • Surfing
  • Baseball
  • Gymnastics
  • Shot Put
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Handball
  • Skateboarding
  • Water Polo
  • Bicycling
  • Ice Hockey
  • Skiing
  • Weightlifting
  • Boxing
  • Inline Skating
  • Skydiving
  • Wrestling
  • Equestrian Events
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Field Events
  • Martial Arts
  • Softball

If you have questions about mouthguards, call our Lawrenceburg dental office. We’ll be happy to help you decide which type of mouthguard is best for you.

Learn More About Mouthguards

Check back soon for related articles.


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