Participation in athletic activities greatly increases your chance of sustaining an oral injury. Dr. Mabry is happy to be able to provide our patients with an athletic mouth guard to protect their teeth. Our athletic mouth guards are custom fitted to your teeth, and made from a flexible material to ensure your maximum comfort. Wearing an athletic mouth guard is especially important if you have braces or any other fixed dental appliance. An athletic mouth guard will generally only cover your upper teeth, though in some cases, Dr. Mabry may recommend one for the lower teeth as well.
Ideal traits for the athletic mouth guard
An athletic mouth guard that is properly fitted will let you continue to breathe and speak normally while still remaining in place while you participate in your sport or athletic activity. It should remain feeling comfortable throughout the day, and should not smell or taste strange in any way. The mouth guard you receive from our office will also be tear-resistant and durable while having the advantage of being easy to clean.
Who should wear an athletic mouth guard?
It’s unfortunate that more sports do not require the use of an athletic mouth guard. Just because your sport doesn’t require a mouth guard as part of the safety equipment does not mean that you shouldn’t wear one. The American Dental Association recommends that any person participating in contact sports should wear a mouth guard for obvious reasons. In addition, mouth guards should also be worn during activities such as:
- Acrobatics and gymnastics
- Discus throwing and shot putting
- Raquetball, handball, and squash
- Water polo
Why wear a mouth guard?
Oral injuries are common during many sports and activities. Wearing an athletic mouth guard can prevent your teeth from becoming chipped or broken. In addition, oral trauma can cause tooth loss and bone and root damage. Wearing a mouth guard can prevent this. In some cases, wearing an athletic mouth guard may even help protect you from serious neck injuries, jaw fracture, concussion, and even cerebral hemorrhage. This is due to the fact that the athletic mouth guard will prevent the lower jaw from jamming painfully into the upper jaw. It also prevents bruises to the tongue, lips, and cheeks.
Types of athletic mouth guards
There are three main types of athletic mouth guards available:
- Stock – these mouth guards are the least expensive, and can be found in any sporting goods store. Unfortunately, these mouth guards are the worst fitting and may not provide adequate protection against injury. They also tend to be very uncomfortable.
- Mouth-formed – these mouth guards are made by placing an acrylic gel in the mouth and molding it to teeth. The gel is then allowed to set. In some instances, a thermoplastic material may be used. These mouth guards closely fit the contours of the teeth.
- Custom-fitted – this type of mouth guard will give you the most protection and the best fit. We custom make these guards in our office using a cast of your teeth. This ensures a perfect fit over all of your teeth. In most cases, these mouth guards can even protect you guys against hits to the chin. You will be allowed to choose from a number of materials, depending on the activity you will be participating in.
Caring for your mouth guard
In order to ensure that your mouth guard lasts for as long as possible, it is important that you follow these recommendations:
- Before wearing your mouth guard, brush and floss your teeth
- Avoid chewing on the mouth guard (it may distort the shape)
- Do not throw your mouth guard in with other gear
- Wash your mouth guard with soap and cool water after each use
- Soak your mouth guard in mouthwash before storing
- Store your mouth guard in a ventilated plastic container
- Do not bend your mouth guard
- Do not leave the mouth guard in direct sunlight or a hot vehicle
- Do not share your mouth guard
- Do not adjust your mouth guard’s fit yourself