Methods for Protecting Your Mouth from Injury When Playing Sports
Posted on 7/25/2015 by Thomas Mahar
Sports aren't just for kids. And kids are not the only ones who become injured when playing a sport. One of the most common sports injuries is mouth trauma. Once you have your permanent teeth, you do not get another set unless you pay thousands of dollars to have them made for you at the dentist's office. For an adult, losing permanent teeth can be a source of embarrassment. Taking preventative measures to protect your smile when playing any type of sport can make the biggest difference.
Mouth Guards are Not Just for Football Players
Anyone who watches college or professional football has probably noticed the players all have a mouth guard they use when on the field. Some have them attached to the helmet and others prefer to keep them in the whole time. Have you ever wondered why they would need them if they have the helmet guard? The truth is that teeth can suffer from trauma without ever being hit directly. The force of a fall can chip them or even send a shock of pain from a crack. A person's cheek or tongue can also get in the way during a fall. Mouth guards are very important, even in non-contact sports because of this reason.
Types of Mouth Guards
There are three main types of mouth protection that anyone can choose from. Depending on your needs and your budget, there is something for everyone:
A dentist can custom fit a mouthguard. These are a great option if other mouthguards are uncomfortable with your bite or if you have an under bite. Generally mouthguards are only for the top teeth, but if your lower jaw is in front, it is best to have protection for both.
Mouth-formed mouthguards require a little prepping on your part, but overall are a very economic and efficient option. These are also known as "boil and bite" guards because they need to be boiled in hot water briefly to make them pliable. A quick shock in cold water and they are ready for you to bite the impression of your teeth into them. Once they have set you can use these DIY custom fit mouthguards.
Stock mouthguards can be purchased from your local sporting goods store. They usually come in just a few generic sizes and are smoothed on the inside to accommodate a wide variety of alignments. This option is also a budget friendly one. Just be sure to get one that fits best so that your teeth are protected as much as possible.
It's always a good idea to have a backup or two in case one gets lost or you notice damage from wear and tear. This damage over time is common. Incisor teeth can wear holes into the silicone. Small cracks from biting down hard or taking blunt force can lessen the protective strength. If it becomes torn, it can cause mouth sores as well. So having a backup can protect you until you can get another one.
The Importance of a Proper Fit A mouthguard that doesn't quite fit right can cause injury in and of itself. If the piece is too large, it can put uncomfortable pressure along the gums. If a person is hit with a mouthguard that is too big for them, it can bruise their mouth or possible damage their teeth. Sometimes people will bite too hard to keep a large mouthguard in place.
This is also bad for the teeth and jaw. A mouthguard that is too small can make a person's mouth sore and may not even cover all of the back molars. It may take a few tries before finding one that you can comfortably wear for an extended time. But taking this extra precaution not only prevents injury, it protects your smile, confidence and wallet.