Mouth Guards: Boil and Bite or Custom Made

Did you know that an athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to the teeth when not wearing a protective mouth guard? As Spring sports kick into gear, make sure your child is properly protected this season with a mouth guard. It is an essential piece of equipment that is important in many sports, not just football or hockey. The potential oral and facial injury your child could suffer, along with the hundreds or thousands of dollars in dental costs, make mouth guards in sports a critical choice.

If you have made the decision to get your child a mouth guard, you have already made a wise choice. However, by choosing a custom mouth guard made by your dentist instead of a boil and bite mouth guard at your local sporting goods store, you will reap the full benefits of protection. A dentist, unlike a sports store retailer, will consider important questions before fitting the mouth guard, such as your child’s age and potential of tooth eruption during the season, orthodontic treatment, cavities and missing teeth as well as history of other medical or dental issues that may require additional protection.

The most significant benefit from choosing a custom mouth guard is the better fit and customized mold you get to the child’s teeth and gums. Your dentist specifically and carefully designs them. Custom mouth guards fulfill all the criteria for adaptation, retention, comfort, and stability of material. They interfere the least with speaking and studies have shown that they have virtually no effect on breathing.

Group Health Dental uses custom athletic mouth guards made from a stone cast of the mouth, usually of the upper arch and using an impression (or mold). A thermoplastic mouth guard material is adapted over the cast with a special vacuum machine. Your mouth guard is then trimmed and polished to allow for proper tooth and gum adaptation.

A properly fitted mouth guard is more than just being more comfortable to wear. A looser fitted and store bought mouth guard delivers a low level of protection, which increases the chances of sustaining a concussion from a blow to the jaw. Furthermore, if the wearer is rendered unconscious, there is a risk the mouth guard may lodge in the throat potentially causing an airway obstruction. As a parent, if you have decided to buy a mouth guard for your child in sports, invest wisely and take the time to have one custom made and fitted at your dentist so that you are not just protecting your child half way.

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