Mouthguards provide effective protection for your child’s mouth and braces, especially during contact sports.
Getting braces can be a big change in the life of a teenager or pre-teen. Becoming accustomed to the feeling of foreign objects on their teeth, new and stricter cleaning and care regimens and especially the discomfort of adjustments, it can be easy to forget that those who play sports will need additional protection too. Braces do pose potential injury to your child, making a mouthguard a requirement for proper protection.
When do I need to wear a mouthguard?
It is vital to protect your teeth and mouth by wearing a mouthguard, especially during contact sports. Even without braces, a mouthguard is advisable when there is a reasonable chance of physical contact. Sports such as rugby, lacrosse, hockey and football all require the use of a mouthguard. To determine what type of mouthguard is best, it is a good idea to chat to the coach first to determine how much physical contact is likely, what type of injuries commonly occur and how often your child will be playing.
What type of mouthguard should I use?
If the brace is removable, then it is a better idea to take it out and wear a fitted mouthguard when partaking in sporting activities. However, if the braces are fixed, they will require the use of a mouthguard that fits over the top of the braces.
There are two different types of mouthguards available. Over-the-counter which come in a standard size or they can be mouldable, or custom-made, created from an imprint of your teeth at the dentist’s office.
How does a custom-made mouthguard work?
A custom-made mouthguard begins with the dentist taking a tooth impression and creating a dental grade guard for that exact mould. Once complete, it will offer a secure and precise fit to the teeth. A custom-made mouthguard is ideal for a number of reasons, particularly because the dental grade guard will last much longer than any over-the-counter guard will. Because it is custom-made, the mouthguard will provide more protection and comfort as it will not be prone to slipping off or movement during sporting activities. It is vital to remember though, that the cost and process involved to make a custom mouthguard is far better saved for permanent teeth.
How does an over-the-counter mouthguard work?
An over-the-counter mouthguard is much cheaper and quicker to get. The standard size offers the least amount of protection and comfort as it simply gets placed in the mouth with no fitting or adjustments. The boil and bite or mouldable over-the-counter guards do provide a little more protection and comfort because they are to be boiled, bitten down upon and moulded to the wearer’s teeth. The plastic used is much weaker than the dental grade so there is a chance that you might bite through the material. An over-the-counter is best used if there are still milk teeth present as it is far less expensive and can be purchased from most pharmacies and sporting stores or even online.
What happens when my teeth shift?
During the orthodontic period, it is expected that the teeth will shift which means that the mouthguard needs to be adjusted to the new shape. A guard is re-mouldable for up to around 20 times, allowing for it to be continuously used during the period of the treatment. The shield simply needs to be brought in for each brace’s adjustment, so that it can be re-fitted in the office at the same time.
Do I need top and bottom mouthguard?
Wrestling is the only sport that requires both upper and lower mouthguard by law, any other sport would only require an upper guard for optimum protection. This is because most upper and lower combination guards don’t maintain proper contact with the teeth and can cause more damage than preventing it. There are also warnings against using a double mouthguard when there is a chance of the jaw twisting as it could cause the guard to snap, turning the broken pieces into choking hazards.
If you are considering getting a mouthguard for yourself or for your child, contact Ortho3 today for a consultation so that we can custom-fit your sporting protection today.