Protect Your Smile: Athletic Mouthguards
Dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial (mouth and face) injuries suffered while participating in sports. Losing a tooth while playing sports can mean over $15,000 per tooth lost in lifetime dental costs, not to mention lots of time in the dental chair and possibly other types of oral complications. The American Dental Association estimates that proper usage of a mouthguard prevents over 200,000 injuries ever year in just high school and college football. Don’t go running to the nearest sports store to pick up cheap mouthguard though, as a custom-made professional mouthguard from your dentist offers the best protection and comfort while only costing slightly more.
The word “mouthguard” is a fairly generic term used to describe a huge range of products that could include anything from something purchased “over the counter” at a sporting goods store to a professional, dentist made, custom fit mouthguard. Despite the ubiquity of the term, there are three main types of mouthguards:
- A “stock” mouthguard is one found at most sporting goods stores. They are cheap and fairly ineffective. Due to usually only coming in a few sizes, they offer little retention, which forces the wearer to bite down constantly. Not only does this make for poor protection, constantly biting can interfere with your speech and breathing, as well as potential jaw issues.
- Mouth formed guards are probably the most popular type of mouthguard available due to large advertising campaigns. Like the stock mouthguard, they come in a few basic sizes but better conform to your unique dental pattern by being immersed in boiling water, then bitten into. This type of mouthguard is also not recommended as they fail to offer adequate protection and are overly ineffective.
- Custom mouthguards are created by your dentist and offer the best protection. Individually formed to each patient’s unique mouth, they are comfortable, protective, and long lasting. With a custom made mouthguard you can breathe easily and feel confident in their offered protection. Two popular types of custom mouthguards are the Vacuum Mouthguard and the Pressure Laminated Mouthguard.
Vacuum Formed Mouthguard
This type of custom mouthguard is made in a two step process. First your dentist will make an impression of your mouth to be made into a stone cast, then a special machine will vacuum form a poly copolymer over the cast to create the actual guard. Following creation, the mouthguard is smoothed and trimmed, test-fitted, corrected, and completed. A vacuum formed guard is far superior to anything purchased at a sports store, but in recent years has been supplanted by Pressure Laminated Mouthguards.
Pressure Laminated Mouthguards
These mouthguards are made by combining multiple layers of bio-compatible materials together under high pressure to form a single, incredibly durable mouthguard. When properly made this type of mouthguard is the most accurate of any method available and should not deform over time. Typically lasting approximately two years, they are an affordable way to offer the best possible professional protection for your mouth.
If you have any questions about mouthguards, sports, or just need a regularly scheduled cleaning, it’s time to start thinking about your child’s dental health and set up an appointment with Irvine Dentist Dr. Neda Khodai. Call us at 949-553-1111 or click below to get in touch with Barranca Dental Excellence in Irvine, Orange County California. Se Habla Español!