The Magic of Mouthguards
It’s encouraging that most parents have embraced mouthguards for when their kids are playing sport. But unfortunately, they often choose the least expensive and least protective option. These are usually ‘boil-and-bite’ mouthguards that are available from a chemist or sports store. These cheap, ill-fitting mouthguards offer a real false economy, as research has shown they are about as protective as wearing nothing.
The problem is that they are simply a single layer of material poorly fitting the teeth. A dentist-fabricated mouthguard is made of a laminated material that effectively fits and absorbs shocks. It’s so comfortable, a child is more likely to wear it too.
Who needs a mouthguard?
Kids, adults, mums, dads—anyone playing any kind of contact sport should be fitted with a decent mouthguard.
It’s a wise decision to wear a mouthguard when playing most contact sports whether it’s AFL, hockey, basketball, rugby league, water polo, cricket or baseball. Thankfully, we see equal numbers of male and female sportspeople coming in to be fitted for mouthguards—and they’re getting them for their kids too.
The process of getting a mouthguard
A well-made, effective, comfortable mouthguard takes a little more time and effort than boil-and-bite varieties.
Professional mouthguards are manufactured from a specially designed thermoplastic material. At the first appointment, we take an impression of your upper teeth so the mouthguard will fit perfectly. We also take an impression of your lower teeth so it will be comfortable to wear when your mouth is closed.
The impressions are sent to a laboratory where a vacuum machine stretches the material over the teeth, ensuring an exact fit. The mouthguard is then trimmed and polished until it is silky smooth, and sent back to the dentist. We ensure the fit is perfect, making any small adjustments if necessary.
How often should you replace a mouthguard?
While it’s possible to get a couple of seasons out of an adult mouthguard, kids grow very quickly. Most kids only get a season of wear from a mouthguard and they should be fitted for a new one at the start of each sport season. Most private health insurance companies offer some form of rebate, so the out-of-pocket cost is not large.
A mouthguard is one of the best investments you can make. The cost involved with repairing teeth from a sporting accident will always far outweigh the cost of a decent mouthguard. It should be considered as integral to a sport as a ball, bat, jersey or boot.