A mouthguard is a protective device for the mouth
used to help prevent injury to the teeth, gums, and lips. mouthguards are often
used in contact sports, but they can also be used as dental supports or as an
anti-snoring appliance. They can come in various forms, depending on how they
will be used.
mouthguards originated in the sport of boxing in
the 1890s in Britain. Since then their popularity has grown to other sports and
technology has greatly improved them. Today, they are made of highly durable,
mouthguards are also known as athletic
mouthpieces, lip guards, and bite splints, depending on exactly what they
Stock mouthguards come in pre-formed shapes and
offer little adjustment to the user's mouth. The only way to adjust stock
mouthguards is manually, with a knife or scissors.
Mouth-adapted varieties can be more flexible.
Also called self-fit or boil-and-bite mouthguards, they are made from
thermoplastics which can be heated and made to fit the mouth of the user.
mouthguards can also be custom-made and fit the
mouth using a vacuum, pressure, or heat activation. Custom mouthguards are made
based on the user’s specific oral specifications. They are the most adapted to
the mouth, but may also be the most expensive.
Most athletes prefer using the boil-and-bite
mouthguard for their price and convenience.
mouthguards Used For?
A mouthguard is needed in any sport where
trauma to the mouth or jaw is a possibility. This includes basketball,
football, soccer, ice hockey, baseball, and boxing. mouthguards are also used
in mixed martial arts, various forms of wrestling, lacrosse, polo, and winter
sports. The American Dental Association (ADA) advises using mouthguards when
playing 29 different sports.
The ADA recommends using mouthguards during
games, and, especially at pre-teen and teen-levels, during practice also.
Mouthguards prevent injuries, and going without one could mean putting yourself
mouthguards greatly reduce the incidence of
dental injury in sports. More than five million teeth are pulled or
torn away every year in injury. Up to 40% of these injuries occur in sports
games or practice, from incidents with other players, equipment or
infrastructure. $500 million is spent every year in the U.S. to replace all
avulsed teeth. The use of mouthguards can slash this figure exponentially.
But even with the use of mouthguards, sports
injuries can happen if the mouthguard does not fit correctly. That’s why it’s
important to find the right mouthguard and fit it properly. Fitting it can be a
process involving several steps or as simple as putting it in your mouth.
Whatever sort of mouthguard used, the mouthguard
should fit snugly against your teeth to ensure optimal protection.
How Do You
Check the Fit of Your mouthguard?
You can customize a mouthguard to fit your mouth
in three ways: self-fit (boil-and-bite), instant-fit, and custom fit. Self-fits
involve placing the mouthguard in boiling water and molding it to your teeth,
while the instant-fits require no molding, allowing
the user to wear and go. Labs make custom mouthguards based on the
user’s oral profile.
For the boil-and-bite fitting process, you’ll
need a pot, spoon, water, mirror, bowl, and a watch. Place in boiling water, cool,
then fit into your mouth so they conform to the shape of your teeth, place it
back in the cold water to set. You can repeat the process if the fit is not
mouthguards work by absorbing and dispersing the
impact on your mouth from an outside force. An exact fit is crucial to ensure
that the mouthguard stays in place in the case of impact. When properly fitted,
the mouthguard will help absorb and cushion the impact, transferring the shock
along the gum line, and thereby help reduce the risk of injury.
To fit properly, your mouthguard should align
with the centerline of your upper lip. Push the guard into the teeth and gums
until you get a snug, comfortable fit. If there is an open space or if it
causes undue pressure on your teeth, you should repeat the process.
Typically made from 100% silicone, mouthguards are preferred by braces wearers by
comfortably covering the shape of the brace brackets. Instant-fits
require no boiling and are offered as single or double brace forms. The former
conforms to the upper teeth only, while the latter conforms to the upper and
lower brace brackets.
In addition to their high flexibility,
instant-fit mouthguards also have a high level of stability and durability in
all conditions. Their medical-grade silicone can be easily cleaned in boiling
water with zero deformation.
Like the boil-and-bite and all mouthguard fits,
the instant-fit should provide a snug feel. If you have difficulty maintaining
that feel as your mouth or teeth move, then you may need to check size and/or
choose another style.
The custom-fit mouthguard offers the ultimate in
fit as it is fitted specifically designed for the individual athlete as part of
its fabrication process. In addition to providing protection for the teeth,
these mouthguards may also include additional features that can protect the jaw
through anti-shock jaw pads. Air channels — which aid in airflow and help you
breathe better — as well as the profile or height of the mouthguard, can be
customized to your preferences.
To find the right mouthguard for your sport, consider the different
types of on the market. Mouthguards are categorized into five fit styles:
classic, slim, sport, braces, and custom. Each of these requires a different
fitting method and offers its own set of features.
Slim fit mouthguards
are often thinner, with a lower profile than classic mouthguards, while sports
mouthguards are generally recommended for playing sports such as football or
basketball. Braces fit mouthguards are instant-fit mouthguards, which require
no molding for quick, comfortable protection.
It’s also important to note
that even if your sport doesn’t mandate the use of a mouthguard, it’s not a bad
idea to use one to ensure maximum protection against injuries and cosmetic