Mouthguards

A large number of children injure their beautiful new front permanent teeth during sports.  The stress of such an injury on the patient and parents can be enormous – factors such as the pain after the initial injury, emergency visits to dentists, subsequent appointments for repairs and monitoring the vitality of the tooth/teeth; cost, less than optimal cosmetics, possibility of the tooth becoming non-vital with subsequent root canal and crown treatment, time of school, time of work for parents to attend appointments etc.   For one patient, who fractured just one central incisor tooth, the total cost after 13 months has been $835 (including ACC contributions!).  The benefit of wearing a good mouthguard to prevent such injuries is one of the best investments you can provide for your child.

 

1. Stock
Stock mouthguards are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.


2. Boil and bite
Boil and bite mouthguards also can be bought at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They should be softened in water, then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. If the directions are not carefully followed, this will result in a poor-fitting mouth guard.


3. Custom-made
Custom-fitted mouth protectors are made by your dentist for you personally. They are more expensive than the other versions, but because they are customised they can offer a better fit than anything you can buy off the shelf.

mouthguard_two_color.jpg   The advantages of a custom-made mouthguard compared to a ‘stock’ mouthguard purchased from the chemist are:

• Reduced risk of concussion as a better fitting mouthguard prevents the condyles of the mandible (lower jaw) from crushing up against the base of the skull
• A properly fitted mouthguard can help prevent broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw.  Any impact is distributed equally throughout the material (rather than to a single tooth) this reduces risk of damage
• A better fit and retention, so its stays in place while you are wearing it, making it easier to talk and breathe.  

In view of these advantages, we have decided to promote custom-made mouthguards for our patients involved in contact sports. 

These mouthguards are made from an impression taken of the patient’s upper teeth, and then a vacuum ‘suck down’ technique is used to closely adapt a sheet of bilaminate polyethelene material.  The patient time involved is an initial 15 min appointment to take the impression and choose a mouthguard colour, the laboratory time is the labour intensive part, once completed a second 15 min appointment to fit the mouthguard is required. 

 

© Kidz Teeth | Specialist Paediatric Dentists - Auckland, New Zealand