As high-intensity and extreme sports become more and more popular, oral health is particularly vulnerable to the potential impact that your mouth and teeth might endure. Some of the more vulnerable athletes – whether professional or amateur – are involved in hockey, basketball, and boxing.
Modern dental technology allows us to create customized mouth guards to protect the teeth and gums during high-impact sports as well as for sleeping and other functions. There are also easy-to-buy pre-made guards for the teeth.
Mouth guards are usually designed to protect the upper teeth. However, if you have braces or other special dental work, the dentist may recommend a bottom one as well.
Let’s talk about how mouth guards work and what might work best to help you ensure optimum oral health.
The main types of teeth guards used by people who play sports include the following:
Stock Mouth Guards
These are pre-formed – stocked and on the store shelves – and ready to use right out of the package. They are made of rubber and/or plastic, and they are a good choice for mouth protection while playing sports if you do not have a customized bite guard.
Boil-and-Bite Mouth Guards
These can generally be found in a sporting goods store. They offer a more custom fit than stock guards, because you first heat the guard and mold it to your teeth, and then cool it off in cold water so it keeps its shape.
Custom-Fitted Bite Guard
This is what boxers and professional hockey players use, because they are more comfortable and help you breathe more easily than the other options. These are custom-made for your own teeth via your dentist. The dentist first takes an impression of your teeth, then the mouth guard is molded professionally in a laboratory.
Softer-Style Mouth Guards for Playing Sports
Both children and active adults who engage in any type of sport should at least use a soft mouth guard. You don’t necessarily have to crash into another person to have your mouth injured – just the hard “clack” of teeth coming together too hard can cause tooth damage.
Guards for Nighttime Teeth Grinders
Many athletes and non-athletes alike use a nighttime mouth guard to prevent damage caused by teeth grinding while sleeping. It is usually made by the dentist from resin, and it helps to prevent the integrity of the teeth while also helping prevent having a sore jaw during the day.
Your dentist can advise you about which type of bite guard to get. Dentists have experience in analyzing the degree of contact and the type of guard that best defends the teeth and gums from that type of contact – especially sports. A quality mouth guard should permit you to speak relatively well and breathe easily, and it should feel comfortable in your mouth and against your gums.
If you have a dental injury from playing sports, or if you’re looking for an experienced dentist in the Fort Lauderdale area, contact the dental team of Dr. Ernie Soto today. Call us at (954) 368-6264 or request an appointment online, and let us help you protect your teeth for a lifetime of excellent oral health!