Protecting Your Smile

Following up on our last blog about prevention, this post is about how dentistry can play into prevention of sports-related injuries.  With the Patriots starting their season and the recent conclusion of the 2012 Summer Olympics, we thought it would be helpful to discuss the importance of wearing mouthguards during athletic competition.

Why should you wear a mouthguard?

  • Many studies have shown that young athletes who do not wear mouthguards experience more injuries to their mouths and sustain more concussions than those who wear mouthgaurds.  It has been estimated that the approximate cost to treat a permanent tooth that comes out of its socket can be upwards of tens of thousands of dollars over a lifetime.

How do mouthguards work?

  • Mouthguards work by absorbing the energy at the site of impact and dissipating this energy elsewhere. By doing this, they help to protect the lips and mouth from bruising, cuts, and scrapes.  They help to protect teeth from breaking, chipping, and being displaced.

What kinds of mouthguards are available?

  • There are 3 types of mouthguards commonly used:
    • Stock – Inexpensive and are pre-formed.  Can be quite bulky and not fit well for many people.
    • Boil and Bite – Can be purchased at many drug stores and sporting goods stores.  They are softened in hot water and then adapted to the mouth and teeth.
    • Custom-fit – Made from a model fabricated in a dental office to your individual mouth.  This typically offers the best comfort as it is designed specifically for your mouth.

What type of mouthguard is best?

  • Simply stated, any type that you will wear consistently is a good mouthguard.  Typically, people prefer the comfort of custom-fit mouthguards made in a dental office over the other types.  However, the other options can be effective if they are worn properly, fit well, and stay in place.  Feel free to inquire more about the process of creating a custom-fit mouthguard at your next dental visit.