Thursday, September 29, 2011

Protect That Smile of Yours!

Why Wear a Mouthguard?
Do you play football, basketball or soccer? Perhaps you are in gymnastics, baseball or you like to skateboard. No matter what sport you prefer, there’s always a risk of injury. Knowing how to prevent injuries is important if you participate in organized sports or other recreational activities. A properly fitted mouthguard, or mouth protector, is an important piece of athletic gear that can help protect your smile. In fact, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. You don’t have to be on the football field or in a hockey rink to benefit from a properly fitted mouthguard. New findings in sports dentistry show that even in non-contact sports, such as gymnastics, mouthguards will help protect participants. Many experts recommend that everyone – from children to adults – wear a mouthguard during any recreational activity that might pose a risk of injury to the mouth. Mouthguards help buffer an impact or blow that otherwise could cause broken teeth, jaw injuries or cuts to the lip, tongue or face. Mouthguards also may reduce the rate and severity of concussions.

Choosing a Mouthguard
There are three types of mouthguards:
§          The ready-made or stock, mouthguard
§          The mouth-formed ‘boil-and-bite’ mouthguard
§          The custom-made mouthguard made by a dentist

Although all three provide protection, they differ in the amount of protection and in their comfort and cost. The most effective mouthguard should have several features. It should be resilient, tear-resistant and comfortable. It also should fit properly, be durable and easy to clean, and not restrict your speech or breathing.

Brown Family Dentistry can make a custom mouthguard for you or your child that is comfortable and offers superior protection. Because treating a sports-related injury can cost thousands of dollars, a custom mouthguard is a worthwhile investment. A custom-made mouthguard is individually designed and made here in our office or at one of our professional dental labs. An impression is made of the patient’s teeth. Using a special material, the mouthguard is made over a model of the teeth. Although custom-made mouthguards may be more expensive than other types, their good fit, comfort and overall quality make them a worthwhile investment.

Caring for Your Mouthguard
  • There are several things your can do to make your mouthguard last longer. Before and after each use, rinse it with cold water. You can clean it with toothpaste and a toothbrush.
  • Occasionally, clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
  • Place the mouthguard in a firm, perforated container during storage or while transporting it. This permits air circulation and helps to prevent damage.
  • To minimize distortion, avoid high temperatures, such as hot water, hot surfaces or direct sunlight.
  • Like any other sports gear, a mouthguard will wear out, making it less effective. If your mouthguard has holes, tears or becomes loose, it can irritate the teeth and oral tissues. These conditions also diminish the amount of protection the mouthguard provides when you are wearing it.
  • Schedule regular recall visits by calling our office at 920-725-0400 and be sure to visit us before each playing season. Bring your mouthguard to each dental visit. You may also find more information by visiting our website at