Protect your investment in your smile with mouthguards for sports – Brooklyn and Staten Island orthodontist
To say that Brooklyn and Staten Island are into sports would be an understatement. Many of our patients greatly enjoy watching sports as well as playing them. Playing sports improves your health, allows you to connect with friends, and fosters life skills such as perseverance. Our teen patients are particularly likely to make sports an integral part of their lives.
However, if you play any sport that could result in trauma to your face, then it’s very important to consider the possible repercussions of such an injury. If you take a ball to the face, or if you have a serious fall, the damage could be severe. One or more teeth could be broken or knocked out. If you’re an orthodontic patient, your braces may also be damaged. This might mean knocked off or broken brackets, or bent or broken wires. All of these problems can be expensive to fix, and might even have a permanent effect on your smile. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to greatly reduce your risk – wearing a mouthguard.
Which sports require mouthguards?
The American Dental Association and the International Academy of Sports Dentistry recommend the use of mouthguards while playing the following sports:
- Hockey (field hockey or ice hockey)
- Martial arts
- Gymnastics or acrobatics
- Track and field
- Inline skating
All of these sports may cause injury to the mouth, either through contact with an object (such as a ball or puck) or with the ground (through a fall). This is what is meant by a “contact sport.” If you engage in any of these sports, or in any other activity in which a serious injury to the mouth may occur, you should strongly consider wearing a mouthguard to protect your smile.
What types of mouthguards are available?
In general, there are three types of mouthguards available. Two of these are available at sporting goods stores, drugstores, and other similar places. These are stock mouthguards and boil-and-bite mouth guards. There are also customized mouthguards, which are made by a dental professional.
Stock mouth guards only come in a few sizes (usually just small, medium, and large). You choose the size that you believe will be the closest for you or your child, and then the mouthguard is worn straight out of the box with no customization. This type of mouthguard tends to provide only minimal protection, and may not even fully cover the back teeth. The Academy of Sports Dentistry does not consider a stock mouthguard to be sufficient protection for the mouth and teeth while playing sports. Additionally, because it isn’t customized at all, it often feels uncomfortable, especially for those wearing braces.
Boil-and-bite mouth guards are also purchased over-the-counter, but they do allow a small amount of customization. These mouth guards are made of a rigid plastic shell with a slightly softer plastic inner layer. By boiling the mouth guard, the inner layer softens. The athlete then places the mouth guard into the mouth and bites down, allowing the material to conform to the shape of the athlete’s teeth and set. The resulting mouthguard will fit better than a stock mouthguard would, but the fit is often imperfect (do-it-yourself is often harder than it looks!). Though the inner layer is customized to some extent, the outer layer is not, which can make it uncomfortable.
The third type of mouthguard is a customized mouth guard. This provides the best protection for your mouth and teeth. According to the Academy of Sports Dentistry, a customized mouthguard is 100% more protective than any other type. That means it provides 10 times more protection than any other type of mouthguard.
Why is a customized mouth guard the ideal?
A customized mouthguard is created by a dental care professional. For our patients, Dr. AlJanabi can fit you for a mouthguard here in the office, making it extremely convenient to get the best protection for your smile. He will take a scan with our ITERO scanner, which are then sent to a dental appliance manufacturer to make your customized mouthguard. If you wear braces, the mouthguard will be designed to fit around them, helping to protect them from damage while still being comfortable.
Sometimes, people are concerned about the cost of a customized mouthguard. It’s true that this is the most expensive option. However, the cost is still small compared to the cost of the other equipment you’ll most likely buy to participate in your sport. In addition, it’s important to consider the potential cost of a sports injury. A single injury to the face could result in the need for extensive and costly dental repair work, which will also have to be maintained and likely replaced periodically over the years. The cost of this is usually far greater than the cost of a mouthguard.
If you’re a parent, you know that most kids and teens will only stick with wearing something if it’s comfortable. If your child’s mouthguard is bulky, stiff, or poorly-fitting, the chances are good that your child will try to get away with not wearing it. (In fact, many adults will not stick with wearing an uncomfortable mouthguard either.) Making sure that your child has a well-fitting mouthguard will not only help to ensure his or her comfort, but also makes it far more likely that the mouthguard will be worn as directed.
Customized mouthguards for sports from your Brooklyn and Staten Island orthodontist
If you or your child is undergoing orthodontic treatment, then you’re making an investment in a smile – one that will pay dividends for many years to come. Just as you protect your other investments, it’s important to protect your smile too. A mouthguard is strongly recommended if you play contact sports, even if you only play occasionally or on a non-competitive level. Many schools and leagues actually require mouthguards for certain sports. Dr. AlJanabi can fit you for a mouthguard right here in our office, so getting the best protection for your smile is also as convenient as possible. To get fitted for a mouthguard, contact us to schedule an appointment, or talk to Dr. AlJanabi at your next regularly scheduled appointment.