What Are Sports Guards?
Sports guards are protective appliances worn over the upper teeth to help prevent injury. They absorb the shock of a blow and distribute the force evenly, making it less likely for damage to teeth and oral tissues to occur. They may also help to prevent concussions, but more research is needed in this area.
Who Should Wear A Sports Guard?
People of all ages, whether they are skilled athletes or amateurs, can benefit from wearing a sports guard if participating in any sport or activity that poses a risk of injury. Most people can agree that contact sports can lead to injuries, but other sports such as skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding and BMX biking can also be dangerous. Weightlifters may also be at risk of injuring their teeth and jaws from clenching their teeth very hard while lifting.
Some sports associations have made sports guards mandatory, mostly in minor leagues. In Canada, the only professional sport that requires their use is boxing.
Types of Sports Guards
Prefabricated or stock sports guards are the most inexpensive option, but also the bulkiest and poor-fitting. They are one size fits all.
"Boil and bite" sports guards are made from a plastic material that softens in boiling water and then adapts to the teeth. This type may also be difficult to get a good fit.
Custom-fit sports guards are made at a dental office. Impressions are taken of the teeth and molds are made. Then a thermoplastic material is vacuum formed over the molds to ensure a perfect fit. Since these are the best fitting, compliance with wearing a custom sports guard tends to be better. They are comfortable, easy to wear and are available in a variety of colors.
Caring For Your Sports Guard
If not cared for properly, sports guards may begin to grow mold and bacteria. After use, rinse with water to remove saliva, then brush with a toothbrush or denture brush and a mild soap. Make sure to allow to completely air dry before sealing it in its case. Try to avoid cleaning it with hot water, as this could cause the plastic to warp.
Your sports guard will need to be replaced every 2 or 3 years or when not fitting properly, worn out or broken.
Dental professionals see the results of sports injuries on a regular basis. Wearing a sports guard can prevent the loss or breaking of teeth and prevent injury to the mouth and jaws. Tooth loss can result in loss of self-confidence or difficulty speaking or eating. Preventing injuries is safer and more cost-effective. If you play sports, please consider wearing a sports guard.
If you need a custom-made sportsguard or mouthguard, call us at 905-286-1569 to schedule your appointment.