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Mouthguards: readying your player for another sport season

Boil and bite mouthguard
Boil and bite mouthguard
Brenda Buergi, RDH

With the start of another school year comes the start of the school sporting seasons.

Mouthguards help reduce dental injury including loose or broken teeth, jaw joint injury, and lip, cheek, and tongue punctures. While football mandates mouthguard use other sports do not. According to a 1995 study by Dr. Raymond Flander, football players accounted for just .07% of orofacial injuries while basketball participants saw 34% orafacial injuries. Soccer is another sport that mouthguards should be worn since heading can cause jarring of the jaw joint and the potential for chipped teeth upon impact. In these instances parents and coaches must be the advocate. Coaches that mandate mouthguards to their team not only provide mouth safety but also give the player the needed security to feel confident wearing the mouthguard along side of their teammates.

There are different kinds of mouthguards…and you get what you pay for.

Stock: The cheapest mouthguard is the stock mouth protector that can run as low as $1. These mouthguards give little protection and are ill fitting since they are preformed.

Boil and Bite: The most widely purchased mouth protection is the boil and bite. These mouthguards provide semi-customized protection because they are made at home and can be a little tricky to fit properly. There are many different varieties with the boil and bite mouthguards ranging from the simple thermoplastic material to harder outer shells for additional support and protection.

Custom Fit: Finally there is the custom fit mouthguard which is superior choice but is also the most expensive. The custom fit protectors are made by your dentist by taking impressions of the teeth then lab manufactured for each individual mouthguard. The fit and quality of the material make these the gold standard for mouth protection. Custom fit mouthguards are highly recommended for players during orthodontic treatment.

Still not sure what mouthguard is right for you? Simply visit your dentist or orthodontist and they will be happy to guide you to the right mouth protection for your needs.