Ask a Dentist

August 27, 2021

Q: My Coach Says I Need A Mouthguard, Why?

Man wearing a mouthguard leaning forward

At Dental Image Therapy Centres, we make custom-fitted mouthguards, so your teeth and mouth are protected on the field, rink, ring, pitch or wherever you’re playing. 

A mouthguard (also known as a sports guard and mouth protector) is a soft plastic or laminate material designed to protect your teeth, lips, cheek and tongue from oral injuries. Injuries can include chipped or broken teeth, fractured crowns or bridgework, lip and cheek injuries, root damage to the teeth as well as fractured jaws.

It’s important to wear a mouthguard, especially when playing sports like football, hockey and boxing, where collision and risk of injuries are likely. A study from the National Centre for Biotechnology states that 75 per cent of the injuries occurred during a sport while not wearing mouthguards and of this total, 40 per cent occurred during baseball and basketball (sports that mouthguards are not typically worn). 

Types Of Mouthguard

A mouthguard is essential for every athlete. Regardless of the type of mouthguard, all mouthguards should be resilient, tear-resistant and comfortable. It should fit comfortably in your mouth and not restrict your speech or breathing.

The different types of mouthguards available are:

  • Stock mouthguards — They come pre-formed and ready to wear. They are offered in small, medium and large sizes and are available at an athletic or sporting goods store. They tend to wear quickly and can be bulky, making talking and breathing difficult.
  • Boil and bite mouthguards — They come in pre-formed shape but can be boiled in water for alteration and customized to the teeth by applying pressure. They are available through most athletic and sporting goods stores. They may offer a better fit compared to stock mouthguards but also tend to be bulky.
  • Vacuum-formed mouthguards — These can be made in your dentist’s office or at a professional dental laboratory. Your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and use that to make the mouthguard. Since they fit better, they are more expensive than the boil and bite and stock mouthguards but fit perfectly. They also tend to be less bulky, making breathing and speech easier. They are very durable and last longer than pre-formed mouthguards.
  • Pressure laminated mouthguards — The laminated mouthguards are thicker and provide protection against dental injury and concussion. They are custom-made by a dentist and are more expensive than vacuum-formed mouthguards. They are also very durable and last longer than pre-formed mouthguards.

How Do I Clean My Mouthguard?

After wearing your mouthguard, clean it with cool water and use your toothbrush and mild soap to eliminate the bacteria that may develop during usage. Rinse your mouthguard and place it in a container until the next time you’re facing your next opponent. 

Be sure to visit our Dental Image Therapy Centres clinics located at St. Vital Centre and Garden City Shopping Centre for your custom-fitted mouthguard, or if you have any questions about sports and how to protect your teeth and mouth before your next match. Make sure to book your regular checkup and cleanings, too. We’re more than happy to help with your dental needs.

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