Mouth guards are typically used to protect the teeth when playing contact sports, and also to prevent grinding of the teeth, which is a condition that some people suffer with. When playing contact sports, it is essential to protect the upper teeth, which can easily be damaged or knocked out in a collision. Earlier versions were bulky and would inhibit the person’s breathing, and for that reason, they were rarely used, with the exception of boxing, when wearing a mouth guard is compulsory.
Mouth guards come in three main categories, which are as follows:
- Stock Mouth Protectors – Preformed and ready to wear, these mouth guards can be found at any sports shop or department store. While they do offer a degree of protection, stock mouth guards are bulky and rarely fit well, and are therefore, not recommended. Ask any dentist Sydney sports players trust and they will confirm that you are better off with either a “boil and bite” solution, which forms the mouth guard to fit, or a customised device. Off-the-shelf mouth guards were once popular, as there was little choice, but technical advances have given us much better alternatives that offer a perfect fit.
- Customised Mouth Guards – This is the preferred solution, which is carried out by your dentist, and it involves using a paste to form an impression of the teeth, from which the mouth guard is shaped. This type of mouth guard is expensive, but it does offer comfortable protection, and is therefore recommended. If you play contact sports on a regular basis, you should have two devices made, which means you always have a spare one, and while they are more expensive than the other types, your teeth are very important to you, and this type of mouth guard offers the best form of protection.
- Boil and Bite Mouth Guards – These are made from a special type of thermoplastic and after you put the device in boiling water, it softens enough to form around the teeth when inserted. Sport shops and pharmacies would stock these devices, and by following the directions, you will have adequate protection for your teeth and the device will fit well. These devices are much better than stock mouth guards, which rarely, if ever, fit properly, and with the right application, a good fit is assured.
If a person grinds their teeth, the dentist might recommend wearing a mouth guard at night, which will help prevent tooth erosion, but other than that, they are only used when playing contact sports. The best solution is to ask your dentist to make you a couple of customised mouth guards, which will offer your teeth the very best protection. You can get some further information on the best type of mouth guard to wear when playing sports from articles available online.
Mouth guards are normally only used for the upper teeth, although they can be used for the lower teeth in the event the person is wearing a dental device. The ideal mouth guard will not restrict breathing or speech and should feel comfortable when being worn. Sports such as Aussie Rules, soccer, rugby and boxing would all require you to wear some form of mouth guard, as would any other contact sport.