There are plenty of health benefits to participating in sport, but if you choose to play a contact sport including rugby league, rugby union, hockey, or a combat sport like MMA or boxing, you need to be mindful of potential dental injuries. These injuries might include cut lips, cheeks, and gums, chipped, broken or knocked-out teeth, or even a broken jaw.
According to Better Health, a custom-made sports mouthguard fitted by a dentist is your best bet to prevent dental injuries when participating in sports. So, what are the benefits of a custom-made mouthguard?
Aren’t there other types of mouthguards out there?
You might’ve heard of ‘boil and bite’ and ‘stock’ mouthguards – however, these options aren’t as adequate as one that’s been designed and made just for you. Essentially a ‘stock’ mouthguard is ready to wear and requires no preparation. ‘Stock’ mouthguards are a relatively inexpensive option and tend to be ill-fitting, limited in sizing, and can impact your breathing and speech.
The next step up would be a ‘boil and bite’ mouthguard. This type of mouthguard requires you to soften the mouthguard in boiling water and bite on it to create an impression in the internal fitting surface of the mouthguard for a better fit. Again, the ‘boil and bite’ mouthguard is an inexpensive option but can be uncomfortable, bulky to wear, and rarely fits properly. In our professional opinion, neither of these options is best for protecting your teeth and jaw from severe impact.
While custom-made mouthguards designed by professional dentists cost more than these options, the Australian Dental Association recommends them over generic one-size-fits-all options as they provide further protection to your teeth during play.
What should I be looking for in a custom-made mouthguard?
To prevent dental-related injuries, a custom-fit mouthguard should:
- Be comfortable, but snug fitting.
- Allow you to breathe and swallow.
- Allow you to speak.
- Not cause any gag reflex.
- Be completely odourless and tasteless.
- Be thick enough to provide adequate protection on impact.
What’s involved in getting a custom-made mouthguard?
During your first appointment, a dentist will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth by pressing a putty-like material in your mouth until the mould mimics every shape and contour of your teeth. Taking impressions is a quick, easy and painless procedure and when complete, the mould is used to produce a plaster model replica of your teeth.
Using the plaster replica, your dentist will fabricate your custom-fit mouthguard by layering a hot coloured thermoplastic over the cast using a vacuum like machine to achieve the closest possible fit. Once cooled, your mouthguard will fit snugly and cushion your teeth ready for the impact of contact sports.
After your first appointment, fabrication can take up to a week. And, compared to the cost of extensive restorative treatment, your mouthguard will cost a mere $250 or less if your health insurance provider covers a portion of the cost.
Is it really worth the investment?
Severe dental injury as a result of a blow to the mouth can lead to time off school and work, can be painful and disfiguring, and can lead to lengthy, complex, and expensive dental treatment. So it’s important to protect your teeth with a properly fitted custom mouthguard.
Here at Whites Dental Care, we can protect your teeth so you can focus on performing at your best. We offer a variety of mouthguard colours (your team colours) and varying thicknesses – depending on what level of protection you need for your chosen sport. We can even put your name and contact details on your mouthguard and provide you with a protective case for safe-keeping. Reach out to the Whites Dental Care team to get your custom-made mouthguard today.