An important part of any athlete’s uniform is the mouth guard. It has become standard in almost any sport to wear a mouth guard to protect teeth. While it is more common to see mouth guards in sports such as football, hockey, and soccer, even athletes such as gymnasts or tennis players could benefit from wearing a mouth guard. Because the mouth guard can be such an important piece to an athlete, it is crucial that it fit properly. Custom fit mouth guards made by an experienced dentist offer the best fit and protection.
Importance Of A Properly Fitted Mouth Guard
According to research, about 90% of mouth guards are bought at retail stores. These mouth guards can’t be adjusted or molded to fit properly, thus decreasing their effectiveness. Stock mouth guards have to be held in the mouth by clenching of the jaws and biting of the teeth. Boil and bite mouth guards are molded to the teeth by first boiling the mouth guard and then biting down on the piece. The uneven bite, pressure from the bite, and large teeth can cause the plastic to wear thin in certain places. If this happens, the mouth guard will need to be replaced midway through the season. While the boil and bite mouth guard offers a little more protection than a basic, stock mouth guard, it still interferes with an athlete’s breathing and speech.
It is important that an athlete know how to protect the face and mouth. Mouth guards that don’t fit properly can be uncomfortable or work incorrectly. People mistakenly think that a large, bulky mouth guard will ensure less damage. However, a mouth guard should not cover the soft palate part of the upper mouth. If a mouth guard covers the soft palate, it can cause a gag reflex. A mouth guard that is cut properly may not be as large, but it will offer better protection. An athlete with a correctly fitted mouth guard should be able to speak clearly or breathe properly. The right fit can even allow a player to drink without having to remove the mouth guard at all. The myth of a mouth guard is that it has to be uncomfortable in order to be doing the job right, when in fact, the mouth guard should fit comfortably or else it has been made wrong.
Benefit Of Custom Fit Mouth Guards
To ensure a mouthpiece fits properly, it must cover the athlete’s teeth and gums with a precise fit. An experienced dentist will be able to find just the right custom fit for your mouth. The goal is to protect gums from lacerations while protecting the athlete from a chipped or lost tooth, or root damage. Studies have shown that 10-40% of sports injuries in children are dental injuries. Wearing a mouth guard will greatly reduce the risk of damage to the teeth and mandibular jaw that could lead to costly endodontic treatment. While research is still being conducted, there has been some evidence showing that properly fitted mouth guards can even help to reduce the amount of concussions in athletes. Although a mouth guard doesn’t guarantee there will be no injury, it does drastically reduce the damage that can occur.
Henderson Custom Fit Athletic Mouth Guards
Foutz Family Dentistry offers custom fit athletic mouth guard providing you or those you love with the best way of protecting your mouth. For more information contact our office today at (702) 792-5929.
Dr. Barton H. Foutz, DDS
2510 Wigwam Parkway Suite 100 Henderson, NV 89074