Play it safe – wear a mouthguard.
If you’re playing a contact sport, a mouthguard may save more than just your smile.
Dental trauma from a sporting injury can include damage to the tooth nerve, fractured, cracked or knocked-out teeth, a broken jaw, and damage or cuts to the tongue and lips. Just one case of dental trauma can potentially lead to a lifetime of treatment (and expenses) to maintain the strength and health of the damaged tooth.
At Rokeby Dental Surgery & Implant Centre, we recommend that players of all ages consider wearing a properly fitted mouthguard to protect your teeth and jaws, even during training sessions.
A custom fitted mouthguard offers the best protection and comfort. It’s designed to fit your mouth perfectly and stay firmly in place. A custom fitted mouthguard works by absorbing and spreading the impact of a damaging blow. It acts as a buffer, with the spongy material helping to absorb the shock and lessen the force applied to your teeth, jaws and skull.
Types of mouthguards
All types of mouthguards are certainly not created equal and sports mouthguards can be classified into two types:
- Stock-made boil and bite mouthguards – available from chemists and sports stores. These come in limited sizes, usually, small, medium or large. These mouthguards are intended to fit a wide range of mouths so they tend to be less comfortable than a custom-made mouthguard. These mouthguards are inexpensive as they are made from cheaper, less durable materials.
- Custom fitted mouthguards – available from your dentist. Your dentist takes an impression of your teeth and produces a mouthguard that fits your mouth perfectly. This means it is less bulky, will stay firmly fitted in your mouth during exercise and is more comfortable. It will also allow you to talk normally and won’t restrict your breathing.
What is involved in making a custom mouthguard?
A custom-fitted mouthguard is based on an impression or a 3D scan of your teeth and jaw taken by your dentist. At Rokeby Dental Surgery & Implant Centre, we offer both methods, depending on your preference.
The traditional mouthguard fitting method involves taking an impression of your teeth. Impression material is placed around the teeth and a replica model of your teeth is created. A special mouthguard material is then adapted around this model, which results in your custom fitted mouthguard. The experience when taking an impression is usually quite easy and only takes a few minutes.
The 3D scan process involves a simple and quick digital scan of your mouth, which is used to produce your custom fitted mouthguard. It reduces the need for any impression material and is preferred by patients who feel uncomfortable about having material placed in their mouth during the fitting process.
A mouthguard typically takes approximately one week to fabricate and deliver back to our patients.
How to care for your mouthguard
Here’s some helpful hints for keeping your mouthguard in good working order:
- Before and after each use, rinse your mouthguard with cold water and allow it to air dry
- Store your mouthguard in a sturdy container that allows air circulation
- Avoid exposing mouthguards to high temperatures. Hot cars, direct sunlight or hot water will distort your mouthguard and reduce the quality of the fit.
- If your mouthguard develops an odour, you can occasionally use a denture-soaking tablet such as Polident to freshen it up. Replace the mouthguard if it is damaged.
- Replace a child’s mouthguard every 12 to 18 months, even if it appears to be in good condition as growth and new teeth can alter the fit.
- Have your dentist to inspect your mouthguard at every dental check-up
For the best and most comprehensive protection there is no substitute for a custom-fitted mouthguard. The majority of health funds will provide a rebate for professionally fitted mouthguards. Contact us on 9381 6611 to find out about your health fund rebate and have your mouthguard fitted today!