School is back in session and your little ones are headed to the athletic fields. Youth sports injuries are common – especially those to the mouth, teeth and jaw — but many can be avoided or minimized with the use of a properly fitted athletic mouthguard.
Mouthguards are not only important for football players, boxers and hockey players. Young athletes in many non-contact sports such as roller-blading, gymnastics, soccer, volleyball, baseball, wrestling and skateboarding experience unnecessary injuries to their teeth, mouth and jaw that can be prevented by wearing mouthguards properly-fitted by your dentist.
If that’s not convincing enough, remember that the overall cost of repairing a tooth well exceeds the minor cost of a properly fitted mouthguard.
What are mouthguards? Athletic mouthguards are worn over your child’s teeth to protect against injury during sports participation. A properly fitted mouthguard should be sturdy and durable, easy to clean, comfortable, resist tears and should not restrict breathing or talking. Our dentist will create a custom mouthguard designed to protect your teeth from a contact injury to your mouth or facial area.
There are three types of mouthguards:
Stock: A basic mouthguard that is inexpensive, comes ready to wear and can be found at sporting good stores. These pre-formed mouthguards are uncomfortable, disrupt breathing or talking and provide minimal protection. In addition, you cannot adjust them to fit properly and — because of this — our dentist does not recommend this type of mouth protection.
Boil and Bite: These guards fit better than stock mouth protectors and are made from thermoplastic material — which can be softened in hot water and then placed in your mouth and shaped around the teeth.
Vacuum or Laminate-Pressed: These are custom-fitted in a dental office or lab based on your dentist’s instructions. First, your child’s pediatric dentist will make an impression of your teeth and mold a mouthguard over the model using a special material. Due to the materials used and precise tooling required to ensure proper fit, these mouthguards cost more but offer more comfort and protection.
The generic stock and boil and bite mouthguards bought at sporting good stores do not offer adequate support for an athlete’s teeth. Everyone’s teeth have unique characteristics — and age, gender, sport, competition level and position all play important roles in the type of mouthguard your child needs to properly protect their teeth and jaw.
For children who wear braces or another fixed dental appliance, talk to your dentist about a mouthguard for your child’s lower teeth as well.
To learn more about Northeast Pediatric dentists and the services we offer, please contact us here or call us at 704-895-6445. We are the Premier Pediatric Dental Practice in Davidson, Charlotte, and Surrounding Areas and we look forward to protecting your little athlete’s teeth!