Most sports have the chance of contact, and with contact can come dental damage. This damage can be debilitating, difficult to treat, and often cannot completely be repaired. That is why Innovative Dental stands with the Australian Dental Association and Sports Medicine Australia in believing that mouthguards are not an optional part of sports gear, rather they are one of the most important pieces of sports gear, and should always be used.
We oftentimes think of mouthguards as a necessity for hard contact sports including rugby league, rugby union, boxing, MMA, hockey and AFL. But the truth is all sports, even those that are supposedly non-contact, carry a real risk of strikes, collisions, and impacts.
Dental Damage and Mouthguards
The good news is that mouthguards are specifically designed to protect you from serious injuries including broken jaws, cracked or knocked out teeth, and soft-tissue injuries to lips, tongues, and gums.
Unfortunately, the importance of mouthguards is often overlooked. The Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine’s studied junior rugby league players on the Gold Coast in Queensland and discovered:
- Over half (53.8%) reported having experienced an injury to the face or teeth when playing sport;
- 90% of coaches had to deal with these injuries; 41.4% more than five times; and
- In spite of the fact that over 90% of coaches (93.8%) encouraged the wearing of mouthguards, only 68.2% of players did so and mostly during games (not training).
The Types of Mouthguards
All mouth guards share certain characteristics:
- Made of a strong but highly flexible material
- Made of highly durable material
- Formed to fit around your teeth to protect them and soft spots in your mouth
- Designed to give some protection to the jaw and neck
But although all mouth guards share some characteristics, there are also some important differences.
Self-fitted mouthguards (sometimes called “over-the-counter mouthguards”), which include what are commonly known as boil-and-bite mouthguards, should not be used. They are fitted loosely, do not protect the teeth, can interfere with breathing and speaking, and in extreme cases can get jammed in the back of the throat by impact, which could be life threatening. If they fit poorly enough they can cause injuries of their own.
A custom-fitted mouthguard absorbs and spreads the impact of a damaging blow, and is fabricated based on a professional impression of your teeth taken by your dentist.
A mouthguard that is custom-fitted by a dentist is far superior to over-the-counter mouthguards because it’s custom designed to fit the exact contours of your teeth and mouth. A custom-fitted mouthguard:
- Balances your bite
- Allows speech
- Allows normal breathing
- Is easily stored
- Should last several seasons (unless you are still growing)
- Easy to clean
Only dental professionals can design and manufacture a custom-fitted mouthguard that provides adequate protection.
Mouthguards for Young Athletes
Like young athletes themselves, young mouths undergo growth spurts. This means that a mouthguard that was perfect last year may not provide protection this year. A dentist should check a child or adolescent’s mouth before any type of mouthguard is purchased. A dentist also can help recommend or customise a mouthguard for a young athlete.
Get an “Innovative” Mouthguard!
Mouth guards cannot protect against every conceivable injury, but they do significantly decrease the likelihood of injury. This is why it is important to visit Innovative Dental in Moonee Ponds to get a custom-fitted mouth guard moulded by our skilled dentists.
If you, or your child, play a sport, make an investment in a high-quality mouth guard. Custom-made mouth guards from your Innovative Dental dentist are important protection for anyone who plays sports.
The Innovative Dental Advantage
Our office and practice is modern and in tip-top condition. We welcome patients of all ages. Young patients will find plenty of toys in our comfortable TV room!
Our dental practice also has the latest technology to help achieve the highest standards of patient care. We use cutting edge tools like digital dental x-rays and intra-oral cameras. Our expert staff is well trained and keeps current on dental practices and technologies.
Call us on (03) 9346 8333 or book your appointment online TODAY!
J. Kroon, J.A. Cox, J.E. Knight, P.N. Nevins, W.W.Kong, ‘Mouthguard Use and Awareness of Junior Rugby League Players in the Gold Coast, Australia: A Need for More Education’, Clin J Sport Med, 2015, 0:1-5