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Why Are Sports Guards Necessary?

Why Are Sports Guards Necessary?

If you play or have ever played a contact sport, you have probably worn a sports guard. Sports guards are recommended for any sport where there is a risk of contact between people or inanimate objects such as sticks, balls or pucks. Sports guards are recommended for sports such as soccer, hockey, basketball, football and lacrosse.

Common Oral Injuries from Sports 

  • Tooth chips and fractures (when a break happens on the crown of a tooth)
  • Root fractures (when a break occurs on the root of a tooth)
  • Tooth avulsion (when a tooth gets knocked out)
  • Tooth intrusion (when a tooth gets pushing further into the jaw bone)
  • Tooth luxation (when a tooth moves from its original position and gets pushed back or forward in the jaw)

How Do Sports Guards Work? 

Sports guards work by absorbing a blow and dispersing it throughout the guard. The guard also acts as a cushion between upper and lower teeth to prevent traumatic tooth-on tooth injury. Sports guards prevent irreversible damage to the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth. 

Types of Sports Guards 

Boil and Bite – This type of sports guard is inexpensive but doesn’t offer the best protection because it is not designed specifically for your mouth. A boil and bite sports guard can be purchased at a store and requires the material to be heated up and then bit into to form a mould of your jaw. The sports guard won’t have the ideal fit, but it is better than not wearing a guard. Boil and bite sports guards are recommended for children whose mouths are growing and changing.

Professionally Made – The ideal sports guard is professionally made. A dental impression will be taken of your upper and lower teeth, and the sports guard will be fabricated based on the impressions. The sports guard will be fitted and adjusted to give the best fit. 

Caring for Your Sports Guard 

  • Store your sports guard in a case when not using it 
  • Clean your sports guard after each use with warm water and a separate toothbrush 
  • Never used hot water on your sports guard as it could warp the material.
  • If your sports guard is loose and you can pop it out with your tongue, it no longer fits properly and won’t offer the best protection, and a new guard should be made. 

If you are interested in having a sports guard made or have any questions about them, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

What Is a Sports Guard and Why Might You Need One?

What Is a Sports Guard and Why Might You Need One?

Sports guards are required and beneficial for any sport where there is a risk of contact with objects (such as a ball, puck or stick) or another person. Examples of contact sports include hockey, basketball, football and lacrosse. A sports guard consists of a plastic tray that covers your upper teeth and palate to prevent any tooth or jaw injury. Sports guards work by reducing/eliminating the amount of trauma sustained during an injury by taking the force and dispersing it throughout the guard. The guard acts as a cushion between the upper and lower jaw. 

There are two main types of sports guards, professionally made sports guards and store-bought sports guards. These two options offer very different protection and come in at a very different price point. 

Store-Bought Sports Guard

Store-bought sports guards come in a universal shape and are made out of plastic, which is boiled and bit into to leave the jaw’s shape for a comfortable fit. A boil and bite sports guard offers protection for the teeth and jaw, but because it doesn’t fit precisely to each individual mouth, it lacks the quality of a professionally made sports guard. Boil and bite sports guards are recommended for kids whose mouths are changing and growing. Around 14 years of age, it is recommended to switch over to a professionally made sports guard. 

Professionally Made 

A professionally made sports guard is fabricated in a lab, specifically for each mouth. The first step in the process is to have impressions of your mouth to give an exact mould of your teeth and jaw. After about a week, you will return to your dental office to try the guard in and make sure it fits snug. Because professionally made sports guards are made for each mouth, they offer a far superior fit and better protection against tooth and jaw trauma. 

How to Care For Your Sports Guard 

  • Clean your sports guard after each use with a separate toothbrush and warm water 
  • Avoid hot water on your sports guard as this can warp the plastic material and alter the fit 
  • Store your sports guard in a clean sports guard case 
  • If you notice any cracks or chips in your sports guard, bring it in to the dentist for a check 
  • Wear your sports guard any time there is a risk of a contact injury, even during practice 
  • If you can pop your sports guard out with your tongue, the fit is too loose, and it requires adjustment 

If you believe you would benefit from a sports guard or have any questions about how they work, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.