Almost every physical activity carries some risk of harm or injury to your person. Bikes crash, lacrosse sticks get launched and soccerballs never go exactly where intended. We often take precaution against these injuries with helmets, kneepads and special footwear. However, we rarely consider the potential for tooth injury- unless a coach or league mandates mouthguard use.
In reality, there are a number of ways in which your teeth can be damaged during any activity. Many of these injuries can be minimized or prevented by using a custom fitted mouthguard. These soft appliances help redistribute forces and protect the teeth from blunt trauma during athletic events.
Who could benefit from using a mouthguard? A general rule of thumb is any sport or activity where you would wear protective padding (Such as a helmet) will present a risk of tooth injury. Studies show that athletes have 10% risk of sustaining an orofacial injury every year, with a total risk of injury of about 30%-50% over a lifetime. Furthermore, mouthguards protect beyond tooth injuries. Lip lacerations, TMJ trauma and tongue injuries can also prevented be via sports mouthguards. Some studies suggest that mouthguards could be protective against certain types of traumatic brain injuries as well. Additionally, many athletes feel that mouthguards allow them to feel more balanced and focused by providing a flat and even surface rest and concentrate on.
The mouthguards we make at our office take your entire mouth anatomy into consideration. We use stone models and vacuum packing to form them not only to your teeth but up flush against your gums as well. This process eliminates the loose and flimsy feeling that comes with many “heat and bite” style mouthguards. The plastic is contoured and smoothed so that it feels natural in your mouth without losing any protective ability. The bottom side is layered with two types of protective acrylic, so that clamping injuries (such as an elbow to the lower chin) are counteracted by evenly distributed forces. The whole process only takes two appointments, firstly to take the initial impressions and a follow up to deliver and adjust the appliance.
At Thousand Oaks Family Dentistry, we want patients to be as educated and safe as possible in their daily activities and hobbies. Even if you are comfortable with your current mouthguard or not interested in having one made, please call our office if you have any questions about oral injuries. We feel that many types of trauma are preventable via education and want to be available to answer any questions you may have!
Types of Dental Trauma:
Custom Mouthguards and Traumatic Brain Injuries:
ADA article on Sports Mouthguards: