It’s critical to protect your teeth and gums while playing sports, especially if you wear braces. Mouthguards offer effective protection if you play any sport, from basketball and football to skiing, soccer, water polo and wrestling. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all participants in sports wear mouthguards.
Types of Mouthguards
Not only is it important to wear a mouthguard, but it’s imperative to wear the right type. There are three basic types:
- Pre-made Mouthguard: These can be purchased at most sporting goods stores, and are shaped in a general, “one-size-fits-most” fashion. Although these are generally the least expensive types, they also have the potential to not fit very comfortably. They also generally may not provide the most protection, and often do not fit well over braces.
- The Boil-and-Bite Fitted Mouthguard: This option is popular for a semi-customized, quick fix; they are available at some stores. However, many people find this type difficult to fit, and they may not provide a comfortable fit or the best protection. This mouthguard is not the ideal type for those who wear braces.
- Custom-made Mouthguards: Our orthodontists can create a mouthguard specially designed to perfectly fit your mouth to provide the most comfortable fit as well as the very best protection available. These customized appliances may last longer than the other two types, and are very durable. If you wear braces, it is crucial that you opt for a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth, gums and hardware.
If you choose the pre-made or the boil-and-bite mouthguard, make sure that it fits well in your mouth without sliding around, it’s easy to clean, and that it never prevents you from breathing properly. Choose one that is tear-resistant, too.
We can show you how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right mouthguard to protect your smile.
Taking Care of Your Mouthguard
Just as is the case with any dental appliance, you must take care to store your sports mouthguard properly and keep it clean. You’ll also need to be aware of when to replace it with a new one. Following are some ways that you can maintain your mouthguard to receive the most benefit from it:
- After each use, gently brush your mouthguard with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Be sure to keep it in its protective case when not in use.
- Take care not to leave it in the hot sun or in hot water; it can melt and become misshaped.
- Each new season calls for a new mouthguard. Also, replace it right away if you notice that it is broken or no longer fits properly or comfortably.
- If you have a retainer, do not wear it with your mouthguard. If you have braces, we will design an appliance to properly fit that protects your braces.
- Never cut pieces off of your mouthguard, and do not chew on it, either.
- Each time you visit your dentist, bring along your mouthguard and have it checked to make sure it is still in good shape and fitting properly.
Injuries to the mouth during sporting practices and events are some of the most common that athletes experience. At Poiset and Associates, we’re committed to minimizing your chances of a painful sports-related injury damaging your smile.
Ask us about sports mouthguard options during your next appointment, or Contact Us Today for a mouthguard consultation!