Mouthguards are an essential piece of kit for anyone who plays contact sports that may include martial arts, hockey, rugby and boxing amongst others. You may have heard of custom made mouthguards but perhaps you are asking yourself ‘what is the difference between that and a shop-bought one’? Your questions answered…..
Why bother with a custom mouth guard?
Shop-bought mouthguard are one size fits all. If you had a broken arm and your went to the hospital to have it placed in a cast, you would most likely be astounded if the doctor presented you with a cast that someone else had worn prior to you and this would of course, lessen the chances of your broken bone setting back in the correct position. Instead, you are made a custom cast, created from an impression of your arm.
In the same way, custom mouthguards are made by taking impressions of your teeth, so that when impact strikes, the grooves are in the exact position to protect your teeth.
If I’ve got braces in, can I still wear my mouth guard?
It is recommended that you wear a custom mouth guard if you are playing contact sports and have fixed braces in. An ill-fitting over-the-counter mouthguard could cause some damage, as the impact could cause the mouth guard to imprint hard on your braces and cause a wound. A mouth guard that fits you perfectly will be in exactly the right place (the grooves will be lined up with your teeth and brace), so that any impact does not occur in an unwanted place.
How is my mouth guard made?
Your dentist will make impressions of your teeth in order to get an exact model of your tooth structure. This cast will then be sent off to the dental laboratory where your mouth guard will be made up.
How do I look after my mouth guard?
Your mouth guard can be cared for very easily. Your dentist will give you a container in which to keep it. Make sure you wash the mouthguard and place it back into its container after every use to prevent it from collecting any debris along the way. Have it regularly checked by your orthodontist to ensure it has not moulded out of shape and thus losing its effectiveness, though this is down to how it is looked after.
Other benefits of custom mouthguards vs over-the-counter
- As they’re a perfect fit, they’re must more comfortable.
- They do not cause you to gag.
- Prevent laceration as they act as a shield between the tissues of your lips.
- Opposite teeth do not risk intense contact with one another.
- Reduce the chance of general tooth-related injuries.