What does a fractured, chipped or knocked-out tooth cost? First of all it can hurt! Then there is the monetary cost of a bonded filling, veneer, or crown or in the case of a newly missing tooth a fixed bridge or implant. The bone around the traumatized tooth can also be broken. There is the cost of missing school or work to have this accident repaired.
Fortunately many of these accidents and costs can be prevented or lessoned with the use of sports mouth guards.
An athletic mouth guard is a flexible appliance that is worn during athletic and recreational activities to protect teeth from trauma. Custom-fabricated mouth guards are essential for preventing athletic oral/facial injuries.
Mouth guards are effective at moving the lips and cheeks away from the teeth, thus preventing cutting and bruising of these soft tissues—especially for those who wear orthodontic appliances.
Mouth guards are recommended any time trauma may occur to the face. Common sports, which have a history of trauma to the face – for both males and females – are baseball, hockey, football, soccer, wrestling, basketball, martial arts and lacrosse.
There are basically three types of mouth guards:
There are stock mouth guards. These can be purchased at a sporting goods store. They come in different sizes and fit loosely over the teeth. They are held in position by the muscles of the jaws. They can at time interfere with breathing and can lead to soreness of the jaw muscles.
The Second type of mouth guard is also found at athletic stores. They are placed in boiling water and the (after some cooling of course) molded by the teeth. This is an improvement over the above mouth guard but often is larger than necessary and also may not have the best fit.
The third type of mouth guard is a custom-made mouth guard. They can be entirely soft, a combination of hard exterior and soft interior, completely hard acrylic. The can be made to fit just the upper arch which is the usual method or for both arches simultaneously.
Dr. Silberman can give you further details on how to care for your specific mouth guard.
As participants in sports who may choose the best equipment for performance and safety, the mouth guard should be an essential part of any sport for health and security.
David Silberman DDS FAGD
General, Cosmetic Dentistry, and Orthodontics; for children and adults