In all sports, safety and protection of the athlete during participation is of paramount importance. It is well documented that the risk of dental injury is increased during sports activities, especially those which may involve contact with other athletes and/or equipment such as bats, balls and hockey sticks. Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association and National Federation of State High Schools standards require some type of mouthguard in order to play “full contact” sports such as football, hockey and boxing. This mandatory piece of equipment has significantly reduced the incidence and severity of dental injuries and concussion in interscholastic sports. However, dental injuries do occur even while participating in “non-contact” sports such as soccer, basketball and gymnastics. Consequently, use of a protective mouthguard is recommended for almost all types of athletics.
Yes. Since an injury to the face could damage braces or other fixed appliances, a properly fitted mouthguard may be particularly important for people who wear braces.
Dental mouthguards are of three basic types. A generic or “one-size fits all” is typically the least expensive. The second type, the “boil and bite”, is fashioned from a thermoplastic material which is warmed and than adapted to the upper teeth. The third, and most complex, is the “custom fit” which is fabricated from a dental cast of the athlete’s teeth. Naturally, the cost of the mouthguard increases directly with its complexity.
While the first two types are acceptable in some situations, it is our belief that a properly constructed custom mouthguard is worth the investment and offers the best protection against dental injury and concussion. Furthermore, athletes tend to be more compliant about wearing a mouthguard when it fits more comfortably and does not need to be “held in place” by clenching and/or closing the lips tightly around it. A well formed custom mouthguard allows the athlete to communicate more effectively with teammates and ensures better athletic performance by allowing for a more open airway during exertion.
Custom mouthguards are manufactured by many different companies and are accompanied by many unsupported claims about their quality and performance characteristics. Some companies allow the athlete to make their own “impression” of their teeth and send it in for manufacturing of the appliance. Poor impressions by untrained individuals will invariably result in a poorly fitting custom mouthguard. Therefore, it is highly recommended that complete construction of a custom mouthguard, from copying the athlete’s dentition to fitting the final product, be performed by somebody with dental training and experience.
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Sussex, WI 53089