Why a Dentist Should Fit Your Mouth Guard
If you’re an athlete and you participate in high-impact activities, you should consider regularly wearing an athletic mouth guard. Without an athletic mouth guard, a direct impact to the front of your face can easily break or even knock your front teeth out.
Athletic mouth guards protect your teeth and jaws from cracks and breaks. Sports injuries account for almost 40% of kid’s dental trauma. So, how do athletic mouth guards work and why should you get a fitted one from your dentist?
Generally, athletic mouth guards absorb the shock of impact and diffuse the pressure around the material of the mouth guard, instead of your teeth and jaws. So, mouth guards are similar to airbags if you think about it. By absorbing and dissipating, athletic mouth guards can reduce the chances of a dental injury, such as knocked out teeth.
Types of athletic mouth guards
There are many different types of athletic mouth guards, so it’s important that you find the right one for the types of sports and activities you participate in.
Ready-made mouth guards
Ready-made athletic mouth guards are inexpensive and often cost around $10 or less at any sporting goods store. They’re relatively easy to replace if lost, and any mouth guard is better than no mouth guard.
The downside about this type of athletic mouth guard is that it’s really a one-size-fits-all product, and “fit” is a relative term. These types of mouth guards may work to diffuse some of the impact of a hit, but as is not fitted specifically to your mouth, it’s more likely to fall out or loosen when you are active. They’re less durable than other types of athletic mouth guards, which means they’ll need to be replaced more often.
Mouth-formed or boil and bite mouth guards
These are by far the most common mouth guards. At around $15-20, mouth-formed guards are still relatively affordable. These are fitted to your teeth by placing the mouth guard in hot water and then biting into it firmly, so the chances of these falling out or coming loose when you’re active are far less than that of a ready-made mouth guard. But, there’s still a chance that this type of mouth guard will come loose or fit uncomfortably. They are still bulky and will need to be replaced often.
Custom dentist fitted mouth guards
These are the best option when it comes to protecting your teeth and jaws against trauma, but these are pricier than the above options.
At around $75, most people don’t see the value until they’re looking back after having dealt with medical and dental bills due to a broken tooth. Custom-fitted athletic mouth guards fit snugly over your teeth and into your mouth, which means it’s easier to breathe and speak with this type of mouth guard in due to its specific shape. A custom fit means it’s less likely to fall out or come loose, and custom-fitted mouth guards are extremely durable and can be disinfected easily. Impressions are made at your dentist’s office, so it can take up to two weeks for you to receive your mouth guard.
No matter what kind of athletic mouth guard you choose, it’s extremely important that you do choose one and wear it. Dental injuries like breaking a front tooth, damage to your TMJ joint, and damage to your jaws can have significant impacts on your overall health.