As your children head back to school parents are busy making sure they have all the supplies they need to be successful. For kids who are active in a sport – any sport – we hope a mouth guard is on your list. One recent study found that the sports with the most dental injuries were wrestling (83.3 percent), boxing (73.7 percent), basketball (70.6 percent) and karate (60 percent). Hockey, la crosse, rugby and football also offer lots of opportunities for players to experience injuries to their mouths.
There are 3 options available to you
- Stock mouth protectors are preformed and come ready to wear. They are inexpensive and can be bought at most sporting good stores and department stores. However, little can be done to adjust their fit, they are bulky, can make breathing and talking difficult, and they provide little or no protection. Most dentists do not recommend their use. They are, however, better than nothing.
- Boil and bite mouth protectors also can be bought at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. The “boil and bite” mouth guard is made from thermoplastic material. It is placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure. If your child uses this type you will want to check it every couple of weeks for signs of wear and tear. Biting and clenching can actually cut through the mouth guard, so replace as needed to ensure good protection.
- Custom-fitted mouth protectors are individually designed and made in a dental office or a professional laboratory based on your dentist’s instructions. First, we will make an impression of your child’s teeth; then a mouth guard is then molded over the model using a special material. Due to the use of the special material and because of the extra time and work involved, this custom-made mouth guard is more expensive than the other types, but it provides the most comfort and protection. It also should last longer than the other types.
Please talk to us during your child’s next regular visit or call to ask more questions about mouth guards. We want to help you reduce your child’s risk of injury.