Sports guards are mouth guards specifically fitted to your mouth when playing contact sports. With contact sports, there is a possibility of injury to the face, mouth or teeth such as football, basketball and hockey. Sports guards reduce the amount of trauma sustained upon injury. It does this by taking the force and dispersing it throughout the guard and the rest of the jaw.
Types of Sports Guards
There are two main types of sports guards, professionally, custom-made and store-bought. Each type has pros and cons, but the custom-made option is the far superior choice.
Store-Bought Sports Guards
Store-bought sports guards are usually boil and bite. Meaning they are formed by heating the material and biting into it, leaving an impression of your teeth. They do not fit exactly to your mouth and do not offer the best seal. They are less superior in preventing trauma during a blow to the face but are better than not wearing a guard at all. Boil and bite options are recommended for children whose mouths are constantly changing.
Professionally Made Sports Guards
This type of guard is professionally made, specifically for your teeth. First, an impression of your teeth will be taken at your dental office. Next, the impression will fabricated in the dental office. The guard will be made to precisely fit your teeth and mouth. After about a week, you will return to your dental office to try sports guard to ensure it fits snug. At this time, you will be given wear and care instructions for your sports guard. Professionally made sports guards protect your teeth far superior to store-bought ones. Store-bought guards are recommended is for children whose mouths are growing and changing and would grow out of a professionally made sports guard quickly.
Caring for your Sports Guard
It is essential to make sure your sports guard fits properly. If you are able to pop it out with your tongue, it doesn’t have a good seal, and a new guard should be made. If you notice bite marks, cracks or chips, a new guard should also be made. Never chew on your sports guard as this causes it to wear. At the end of use, clean it with a separate toothbrush and warm water and store it in a hard case. Periodically bring it with you to the dentist so it can be cleaned and the fit can be checked.