Sports are an integral part of most children’s lives and, for many of us, the joy of playing individual or team sports carries over into adulthood. We spend years learning rules and tactics so we can better equip ourselves on the field or in the rink, and safety training is an important element many coaches stress to their players. While every sport is unique and the safety concerns will vary between disciplines, it’s rare to find a game that doesn’t put your mouth and teeth at some kind of risk! Using a mouthguard in contact and some non-contact sports is an important safety precaution that you or your child should be taking to help keep your teeth protected on the pitch. There are a few kinds of mouth guards available, so today we’re delving into the differences between the most common types.
Ready to Roll
Stock mouthguards, or ready-made mouthgaurds, are the most readily available and cost effective types of mouth guards available to consumers. These can be found at sporting goods stores, some grocery stores or pharmacies, and even select department stores! A ready-made mouthguard does not require you to visit your dentist and can be cleaned and used immediately after purchase. These mouthguards come in limited shapes and sizes and require the wearers mouth to be closed in order for them to be effective. Therefore, they are found to offer the least effective protection of the three available styles.
Boil and Bite
Mouth-formed mouthguards offer slightly more protection than their pre-formed counterparts! With this type of store-bought mouthguard, the user will first place the plastic guard into boiling water to soften the material. Once it has cooled enough to be safe to place in the wearer’s mouth, you can mold the material to the exact shape of your teeth by biting down and using your tongue and fingers to form the mouthguard. If you or your child is undergoing orthodontic treatment, your doctor may want to help with the shaping and fitting of this type of guard, but otherwise the process can be done entirely at home!
The most expensive—yet most reliable—type of mouthguard is one molded and made by your dentist. Your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and either have this impression sent to a laboratory for a mouthguard to be made, or he or she will mold one in the office. Custom-made mouthguards offer the best fit, most efficacy, and most adaptability. If you or your child is an avid sports player and sees a lot of contact with other players, this option will be your safest and surest bet.
It’s a good idea to consult your dentist before making any major mouth related decision, so don’t hesitate to ask questions if you are in the market for a new mouthguard! Everyone’s needs will be different, and your dentist can help you make an informed decision that is right for you or your child.
To schedule a consultation, give us a call at Valley Dental Care of Plainfield today!