Why Mouthguards Are So Important

Many of our patients are student athletes or have a sport they love. After getting braces, many of these sports-enthusiasts wonder if they’ll have to take a break from their games and practices. We’ve all heard horror stories of sports injuries, even worse witnessed one ourselves. Playing sports during orthodontic treatment is 100% possible! The best way to protect your mouth from a painful fate is to invest in a mouthguard. Mouthguards protect not only your teeth, but the soft tissue of your mouth from injury as you play. Luckily, braces will not keep you from any sport or physical activity. However, the price you pay for a beautiful smile is taking a little extra care of your mouth while in treatment. Keep reading to uncover the significant role that mouthguards play in protecting your oral health and overall well-being from Dr. Laurie McNamara McClatchey and Dr. James A. McNamara at McNamara Orthodontics.

 

In This Post, We’ll Cover:

  • Why mouthguards are essential
  • Do Braces put you at higher risk for a sports injury?
  • What type of mouthguard should I buy?

Why Mouthguards are Essential 

Anyone participating in a sport should wear a mouthguard to protect their teeth. The American Dental Association estimates the risk of serious sports injury to the mouth is almost doubled when you don’t wear a mouthguard (www.ada.org). Dental injuries from sports are sadly common among kids, especially those who have orthodontic appliances. It’s easy to forgo a trip to the store for a mouthguard, but in the long run, you’ll be happy you made the investment. 

 

Do Braces Put You at Higher Risk for a Sports Injury?

While it is always a good idea to take precautions when participating in any type of sport, some people worry that wearing braces puts them at an increased risk for sports injuries. Braces can actually help to protect your teeth from the impact of a severe collision. Wearing a mouthguard to help protect your braces from getting damaged is very important. With braces, it’s also good to be very aware of your surroundings and take extra care to avoid contact with other players or hard surfaces. By following these simple tips, you can wear braces with confidence and enjoy your favorite sports without worry.

 

What Type of Mouthguard Should I Buy?

So now you know how important mouthguards are to your health and safety when playing sports. But, which type of mouthguard is best for you? Many people ask whether it is necessary to invest in a custom-fit mouthguard or will an over-the-counter one work just as well? Here’s some information about mouthguard options to help you make the best decision for your situation. However, if you are wearing a mouthguard, whether it’s custom or not, you are doing your teeth a favor!

Over-the-Counter Mouthguards:

These mouthguards are an affordable option and can be purchased at a local sports store.

These are the mouthguards you’ve probably seen before and are familiar with. They are fitted using the “boil and bite” method, where you bite into the warm mouthguard so that the plastic can mold to the shape of your teeth after boiling it. These mouthguards will cost you anywhere from $15 to $35.

The pros of these mouthguards are:

  • Affordable
  • Easy
  • Quick to Fit

The cons of these mouthguards are:

  • Do not last very long
  • Less able to withstand force
  • Ill-fitting

 

Custom Mouthguards: 

These mouthguards are created by a dental professional from thermoplastic material, based on a detailed mold taken from your mouth. These mouthguards are highly personalized and can have modifications based on what best suits your situation. They are fitted by your dentist by taking an impression of your teeth and then sending the impression to a lab where the mouthguard is created. In general, these mouthguards can cost anywhere from $100 to $700.

The pros of these mouthguards are:

  • Provide the best protection 
  • Durable

Some cons of these mouthguards are:

  • Expensive
  • Require a dentist 

Finding the right mouthguard for you depends on evaluating what your preferences and needs are with regard to comfort/protection level, price range, and materials. If you are unsure what option is best for you, don’t hesitate to discuss it with your dentist or orthodontist!

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