Mouthguards come in all different styles, but not all mouthguards are created equal, and many do not provide the necessary protection or comfort offered by a professionally made custom mouthguard. At My Family Dentist we offer fully customized mouth guards that fit your individual needs.
Store Bought VS Custom Mouthguards
The best types of sports mouthguards are created on an exact model of your teeth via pressure lamination. These types provide the best fit, comfort, and most importantly, the best protection. Store bought mouthguards provide a false sense of security, are often uncomfortable, and do not last very long. Regardless of the type, if it is store bought, it is not worth wearing (there may be some circumstances were a boil & bite mouthguard may have some effect for a temporary mouthguard but I recommend you see your dentist before purchasing one). To help demonstrate this, compare the photos of the custom mouthguards above, to these store bought ones to the right. And for further information on the differences, feel free to check out www.sportsdentistry.com (source of the photos for the stock mouthguards).
Risks of Not Wearing a Mouthguard
Failure to wear a custom fabricate sports mouthguard can have disastrous consequences. For some, they don’t want to spend the money on a proper mouthguard, or they figure they have gone so long without one accident free, that they don’t need one. Or, they feel a store bought mouthguard will offer the same level of protection as a custom mouthguard because companies are so good at doing their marketing. But take a look at these next couple cases to see the risks of not wearing a custom fitted professional mouthguard.
Case #1: No Mouthguard
In this case, the individual was not wearing a mouthguard as he was not actively engaged in a sport. I show this example to demonstrate how even low impact sports can easily result in significant trauma and expense. This child was running around with some other kids, ended up tripping, and came down on his face. The result was fractured front teeth. At this stage, the repair involved some bonding to rebuild, but future repair costs could involve crowns, root canals, and possible eventual tooth loss which would require implant replacement therapy. Initial cost, few hundred dollars for fillings. Long term costs, up to $20,000 +. Cost of a custom professional mouth guard, up to $200.
Case #2: Boil & Bite Mouthguard
This case is from a hockey accident in which the individual was wearing a boil & bite mouthguard. Trauma to the face occurred which split his upper lip, requiring stitches. Even with a custom mouthguard, tissue trauma will still occur, however, the mouthguard can help prevent teeth from cutting through the lip. With the store bought mouthguards, coverage often is limited to the exposed surfaces of the teeth, and as a result, when trauma occurs, teeth will often still break as in this case where the tooth fractured off at just below the gumline. As you can see, the store bought moughtguard provided inadequate coverage and force distribution to protect the teeth, whereas a custom professional mouthguard would have spread out these forces over the bone as well as across the teeth to prevent this kind of trauma. The result, the loss of a tooth that could have been saved. The cost, ~$4,500 for a new tooth that is a pretty close replica of the original, but never the same. Unfortunately I do not have a photo of trauma itself, but you can see the x-ray of the fractured tooth as well as the final implant restoration.
Case #3: Soft Tissue Injury From No Mouthguard
Many people will think they do not need a mouthguard for various reasons. For some, it may be because they don’t think they will get hit in the head hard enough to break teeth. Others may think because they are wearing a helmet they do not need a mouthguard. However, even with a helmet and full face shield, a mouthguard is still recommended. In fact, both my kids wear their mouthguards during kung fu class in combination with their helmets and face shield. Why is this you may ask? When a blow to the face occurs, our teeth can smack together and crack or break. Additionally, our teeth are made for chewing. When we engage in sports and various activities our tongue likes to wander around in our mouth. If you thought it hurts to bite your tongue while eating, try getting your tongue between your teeth when you get a blow to your jaw. You will have lots of pain, bleeding, potentially stitches, and in worse case scenario, bite a piece of your tongue of. So please, even if you are wearing a helmet and face shield for your sports activity, please wear a custom sports mouthguard made for you and your sport.
To learn more about mouthguards, and to see other cause of trauma that could have been prevented by the use of professionally made custom mouthguards, please check out www.sportsdentistry.com.