20 Feb Custom-fitted Sports Mouthguards: Preventing a Lifetime of Devastating Repercussions
Each year, thousands of Australians are treated for preventable dental injuries and concussions – some with devastating consequences – purely because they haven’t worn a protective, custom-fitted sports mouthguard, according to the ADA (Australian Dental Association).
Read more about who needs a mouthguard and the risks attached to contact or collision sports.
Many of us take our teeth for granted, arguably because we haven’t lived without them – or the massive emotional and financial stress of ongoing dental bills. But the impact of dental trauma cannot be underestimated.
In less than a moment, you or your child can have their lives changed for the worse on the sports field – and easily damage a tooth nerve, knock out a tooth, break their jaw – or badly cut their tongue, cheek or lips. Even the smallest injuries like a chipped tooth or damaged nerve will need ongoing expensive repairs, while more serious injuries such as dislodged teeth will require expensive dental work such as dental implants, new prosthetic teeth such as crowns and bridges and more.
And although dental procedures and prosthetics have advanced in recent years, nothing is as good as your natural teeth.
Types of dental sporting injuries
There are numerous ways you can badly damage your mouth or teeth when playing contact sports while unprotected:
- split lips
- cut cheeks
- cuts to the face
- cut gum
- broken jaw
- chipped teeth
- knocked out teeth
- damaged tooth roots
“A damaged tooth (or teeth) can cause problems for a lifetime.”
Who needs to wear a custom-made mouthguard?
Anyone participating in contact sports, combat sports or sports where accidental collision occurs should wear a custom mouthguard. Contact sports include:
- Rugby union and league
However, it’s also imperative to wear mouthguards when playing ‘non-contact’ sports where accidental collision can occur, such as the following:
- touch football
“No mouthguard, no play”
It’s not just the Australian Dental Association that takes this mouthguard issue so seriously. The ADA has joined forces with Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) to encourage sporting clubs to commit to a mouthguard policy for mandating the rule “no mouthguard, no play”. This applies to both training and game playing time.
CEO of Sports Medicine Australia, Anthony Merrilees, said, “Injuries to the face and mouth occur regularly in all types of sports, including in practice and training. A custom-fitted mouthguard is an effective injury prevention measure that a sports participant can utilise to prevent injury or reduce the severity of injury. We urge all players to wear one, and all sporting clubs and schools to educate their players on the benefits of a custom-fitted mouthguard and to support the ‘No Mouthguard, No Play’ policy”.
Types of mouthguards
Essentially, there are two main types of mouthguard on the market:
- boil and bite mouthguards
- custom-fitted mouthguards
Although boil and bite mouthguards may offer some protection, they are not considered a safe option and are not recommended by the ADA. Their fit is not ideal, they are uncomfortable to wear, making speaking and breathing more difficult, and there is scant evidence to show their effectiveness in the face of trauma.
Custom-fitted mouthguards are the only recommendable option if you want to keep your or your child’s teeth safe while playing sport. Along with providing protection for your teeth, a custom sports mouthguard offers the following benefits:
- Breathing and speaking is easier
- Greater comfort while allowing a snug fit
- Does not cause gagging
- Tasteless and odourless
Organising your custom sports mouthguard
The good news is that getting a new custom sports mouthguard takes very little. And, if you have health insurance, you may be entitled to a rebate. Simply book an appointment at our clinic where one of our dental prosthetists will make an impression of your teeth. Then, we’ll book you in again soon after we’ve created a mouthguard custom-created for your mouth.