Dr. Garrett checking in! As football season get’s under way, I am reminded instantly of the frequent mouth injuries we see in the office this time of year. Mouth injuries that could have easily been prevented if a mouthguard was worn. From youth beginners to weekend warriors, it is very important that you protect your teeth during any sport with the potential for facial trauma. Can you imagine losing your front teeth? The inability to bite into an apple or smile with confidence becomes an instant reality.
So what types of mouthguards are out there? Lots! There are three main types, however, that we can look at:
-the stock mouthguard which is preformed and requires no fitting prior to wearing
-the mouth-formed “boil-and-bite” mouthguard
-the custom-made mouthguard fabricated by a dentist
The most effective mouthguard should be tear resistant, comfortable, resilient, and have a snug fit. A stock mouthguard has the advantage of being very inexpensive, but the fit is usually very loose. We do not recommend this type of mouthguard. A boil-and-bite mouthguard can be a very a very effective way of protecting your teeth. It is important to follow the instructions closely on the proper way to fit it to your teeth, otherwise you risk having a mouthguard that falls out during your sport. Be sure to look for a mouthguard with high quality material that will stand up to frequent usage. The gold-standard (of course) is the custom-fit mouthguard made by a dentist. The thickness of the material can be perfectly uniform and the fit is phenomenal. Also, we can often make custom colors which can be a fun way to promote the mouthguard actually being used! Expect the cost to be higher, but the lifespan to be much longer than any mouthguard purchased in the store.
Care of your mouthguard is an important aspect that is often overlooked. Always rinse it after use with either water or an antiseptic mouthrinse (like Listerine). You can also brush it with a toothbrush and toothpaste. When you are not using it, be sure to store it in a container that allows air circulation so it does not get moldy (and stinky!).
Be sure to bring your mouthguard in with you to your dental check-ups. This will allow us dentists to check that it is fitting accurately and in good condition.
So go out there and get some exercise, but be sure to protect your teeth when necessary…or you may be seeing me for some implants!!
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