Accidents during sports activities can cause serious oral injuries. These include chipping of the tooth, fracture, a knocked-out tooth, lateral displacement of the tooth, nerve damage, and soft-tissue damage to the gums, lips, tongue, cheeks, and other areas in the mouth. Sports mouthguards help protect an athlete's teeth and other oral structures from these injuries in action.
Sports mouthguards are dental devices that fit around the teeth and cover them. Along with the teeth, they also protect the gums, tongue, and cheeks from acquiring trauma. Our panel of experts at Elliott Dentistry is ever-ready to help you understand the importance of sports mouthguards.
Who Needs a Sports Mouthguard?
Individuals involved in contact and non-contact sports require sports mouthguards as a necessity. Contact sports include basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer, hockey, and many other sports that increase the risk of a blow to the face. Non-contact sports include ice-skating, gymnastics, biking, and many others, increasing high fall risks.
Types of Mouthguards
Among the different types of mouthguards, there are three main categories. Custom-fitted, boil-and-bite, and one-size-fits-all mouthguards. Details of these are discussed below.
Custom-fitted mouthguards are built-in dental laboratories. The dentist takes impressions of the individual's mouth and sends them to serve as a guide for building the mouthguard. Since these are created precisely according to the individual's needs, they fit perfectly and are perfect for individuals with braces. They are also known to provide the best protection.
Boil-and-bite mouthguards are made up of a thermoplastic material and can be molded according to the mouth's shape. The material is softened by placing it in hot water and then placing it over the teeth. You can then bite down on the mouthguard for twenty seconds and remove it. The mouthguard is placed under running cold water for the material to harden. These steps can be repeated to restore their shape when the mouthguard loosens.
The one-size-fits-all mouthguards are available as ready to wear. Their fit cannot be guaranteed since they are not built according to an individual's particular requirements. They may be uncomfortable, bulky, and may cause difficulty in breathing because of their improper fit.
Caring for a Sports Mouthguard
Caring for mouthguards involves following specific steps. The mouthguard can catch bacteria from the mouth, so it is essential to clean the teeth before placing it in the mouth. For cleaning the mouthguard, the methods mentioned below should be followed.
Do not expose the mouthguard to heat directly. Heat in the form of boiling hot water and sunlight can damage the appliance. The heat can cause the mouthguard to warp and change its shape. The mouthguard should always be stored in a sturdy and vented plastic case when not in use. This keeps it safe from unnecessary germs and acquiring damage.
Clean it by using soapy water and a soft-bristled brush. Rinse the mouthguard using cold water and let it air-dry. The mouthguard should be cleaned after every use. It should also be kept out of the reach of pets to avoid unnecessary damage to the mouthguard.
For more information on sports, mouthguards feel free to reach out to us through 971-274-4360. You can also have a one-on-one consultation with our experts at Elliott Dentistry.