Numerous teeth, mouth, and head injuries, occur every year due to sports activities and sports related traumas. Many of these injuries are caused by the lack of an athletic mouth guard or one that is improperly fitted. Mouth guards can prevent trauma to the teeth and mouth, and can also prevent concussions caused by traumatic jaw bone injuries. Sports activities are the cause of many mouth injuries than can require emergency dental services. This is why it is extremely important that athletes, amateur or professional, should be fitted properly with a mouth guard.
How Do Mouth Guards Work?
Mouth guards work by preventing bruises and cuts caused by impact. They create a solid buffer protecting the soft tissue of the lips and cheeks from the teeth. This buffer prevents fractures in the teeth and dislocations by acting as a cushion from frontal blows to the mouth. Mouth guards also work to distribute the shock of any physical impact. Without a mouth guard, opposing teeth can have a seismic contact with one another, like an earthquake in the mouth and make the lower jaw bone vulnerable to injury. Mouth guards function to prevent any of these incidences.
Basic Types of Mouth Guards
There are three basic types of athletic mouth guards. Stock mouth guards are the most common and easily available. They are sold in sports stores, drugstores and department stores, but is the least preferred while being the most economical. Stock mouth guards come in a limited amount of sizes and are often modified manually by an athlete to make the mouth guard more comfortable. These types of mouth guards provide a very low amount of protection, and have been known to obstruct the airway when an athlete is knocked unconscious.
Boil and Bite
Though commonly used, the Boil and Bite mouth guards do not provide a large amount of cushion and protection from impact. With the Boil and Bite mouth guard, the posterior teeth are particularly vulnerable. The Boil and Bites get their name from the fact that they are made from thermoplastic materials, which if boiled in hot water can be molded and fitted to the mouth.
Custom made mouth guards are the best and most protective for the athlete. Custom made mouth guards are designed by qualified dentists for proper fit, comfort, and maximum thickness, which provides maximum protection for all of the teeth. The patient’s dental health and history are also taken into consideration and these types of mouth guards can be custom made for the dangers of a particular sport. Used most often in professional level sports, custom made mouth guards are the best and most protective and preventative for anyone involved in regular athletic activity.