With the new sports season fast approaching many parents and student athletes are gearing up. If your child plays any type of contact sport (football, lacrosse, wrestling, etc) purchasing a mouthguard should be a top priority. Even though not all sports require a mouthguard, if your athlete has the chance of hitting their head at any time they should consider wearing a mouthguard to protect their teeth.
Types of Mouthguards
There are many different brands and types of mouthguards on the market today. The most common ones you will see are stock, boil and bite, and fully custom. Take a look at each of the following and determine what is most important to you and your athlete.
This is the least inexpensive option you can find for a mouthguard. However this does come at a price. Because a stock manufactured mouthguard typically only comes in small, medium, or large sizes a comfortable fit will be difficult to achieve. The mouthguard will only stay in place when the mouth is fully shut, making it difficult to communicate to team members and could hinder breathing normally. The stock option also offers the least amount of protection for the athletes mouth. However, some protection is better than none!
Boil and Bite
There are many different brands that offer this semi customizable mouthguard solution. Instructions may vary but the idea is the same. Submerge the mouthguard into boiling water to heat up the material then (when safe) mold the mouthguard by placing it in the mouth and biting down. This will mold the material to match the athlete’s teeth. This is a cost effective option while providing much more protection than a stock guard. However this style can still inhibit communication and breathing to some extent.
If you are looking to achieve the maximum amount of protection without hindering breathing or communication a custom mouth guard is the way to go. However because this mouthguard is made completely custom for each person it is the most expensive option. You will need to consult your dentist to have impressions taken. The dental impressions are then sent a laboratory where your athlete's custom mouthguard will be created. This mouthguard offers the best protection covering all teeth and cushioning the jaw. This option is also best if your athlete needs to be able to communicate clearly and effectively with their teammates. It does not hinder their ability to speak and will stay perfectly in place even while talking.
Keep it Clean
Keeping your mouthguard clean and germ free is very important. At a minimum the mouthguard should be washed with cool soapy water and rinsed thoroughly after each use. For added protection the mouthguard can be brushed with a toothbrush and toothpaste before and after each use.
If you are looking to have a custom made mouthguard created for yourself or your student athlete call the dentists and Stubbs Dental today! Our local laboratory will have your mouthguard completed in a timely and affordable fashion.