Ladera Ranch, CA – April is National Facial Protection Month making this the best time to talk about the importance of wearing mouthguards. Mouthguards work to cushion blows to the face as well as to minimize the risk of broken teeth or injuries to the mouth.
If you or your child play any sport where an injury to the mouth could occur, even if it isn’t a direct contact sport, it is important to wear a properly fitting mouthguard. And this is even more important for those who are in orthodontic treatment.
“Mouthguards protect your mouth from injury should a blow to the face happen,” says Dr. Reza Salmassian, one of two board certified orthodontists at Ladera Orthodontics. “If you wear braces, a blow to the mouth can be even more damaging without protection. The brackets and wires could cause serious injuries to your lips and cheeks and they can become broken or damaged.”
Injuries can happen at any age and at any skill level, so no matter your age it is important to wear a mouthguard during sports and other activities. Mouthguards work to absorb the high-impact energy from potentially traumatic blows and they come in different types.
Commercial or stock mouthguards can be purchased at any sporting goods store. They are relatively inexpensive but they cannot be custom formed to fit the individual’s mouth that well. This is actually recommended for those undergoing orthodontic treatment because the teeth are moving. If it fits exactly to the braces and teeth, they won’t allow the teeth to move. A ‘not-so-adapted’ mouthguard will provide protection while not hindering tooth movement.
Boil and bite mouthguards are boiled for a period of time and then placed in the mouth to form around the teeth. They provide a higher level protection than stock mouthguards but they tend to wear out more quickly. These are also relatively inexpensive.
Custom mouthguards are created by an orthodontist or dentist for the individual patient. They are the most comfortable and provide the highest level of protection. They will properly cover all of the teeth, and cushion the jaw to minimize blows to the face. The problem is that these will need to be changed regularly as the teeth move to their new positions ultimately making this the most costly alternative.
“Whether your child is a serious athlete or just has fun in his or her spare time, it is imperative that proper mouth protection be worn,” says Dr. Robert Gire. “It is estimated that nearly 12 million people between the ages of 5 and 22 experience a sports-related injury each year. A properly fitting mouthguard should be considered standard equipment for all athletes.”
If you have any questions regarding sports related mouthguard, please call Ladera Orthodontics today at 949-272-8782.