Mouthguards: The First Line of Defense

Mouthguards: The First Line of Defense

As kids go back to school this fall, they and many adults as well, start playing sports like soccer, football, and basketball. At Beadnell Family Dentistry, your SW Portland family dentist of choice, we want to remind you that many activities and sports involve contact that can be hazardous to your teeth if you don’t protect them properly. While many people think that mouthguards are just for sports like hockey or football, really any contact-related activities can cause expensive and unneeded dental injuries. From gymnastics to skateboarding, mouthguards can help protect both the lower and upper teeth from serious injury.

The National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries reports dental injuries are the most common type of facial injuries. The American Dental Association also stated that over 200,000 injures a year are prevented by using properly made mouthguards, just in high school and college football alone. Hillsdale dentist Dr. Melissa Beadnell is here to assist you in choosing the right mouthguard for your specific needs.

Stay Away From Stock Guards

While mouthguards come in many types, the most common one available in most sporting goods stores are stock guards. Though these guards are readily available and very inexpensive, this kind of mouthguard is pre-molded and does not offer any adjustments. Because of this, they often can feel awkward or uncomfortable in the mouth and can even effect your talking or breathing. In addition, many of these guards have to be held in place by constant bite pressure, so they do not provide very good protection against dental damages. We do not recommend these types of mouthguards.

Boil and Bite Guards

These types of mouthguards are put in hot water to make them soft. Then you bite down to create a mold of your mouth. These guards are also frequently found on the shelves of sporting goods stores. With boil and bite guards the most important things to remember is to follow the directions precisely to try to get the best fit possible. The downside of these guards is that they are only offered in a few size options, and sometimes they do not end up covering all of the teeth. And, along with the stock guards, it is not recommended to try to change the shape or alter any boil and bite guards after their initial fitting.

Custom Fitted is the Way to Go

Custom fitting a mouthguard to your teeth, and making sure it protects all of them, is the best option. A dentist like Dr. Beadnell can take a mold of your mouth and measure both the teeth and their shape to achieve the best possible fit. These measurements are sent to a lab that specializes in in making mouthguards. Dr. Beadnell may also ask about your dental history and what sports or activities you will use the guard for in order to help create the best option for you.

A custom fitted mouthguard provides the very best protection for your gums and teeth. Though a guard that has been fitted to your mouth will cost more than one off the shelf, it is the safest choice to guard against losing any teeth or injuring gums.

Call our Hillsdale office today or talk to Dr. Beadnell on your next visit about any mouthguard needs or questions that you might have.

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