Importance of mouthguard in dental injuries
Dental injuries are a result of sports activities. Whether a kid or adult, it is not possible to stop them from playing. Therefore, it is important to take precautions by giving them the right protective gear for safety. To protect them against dental injuries, a mouthguard is the best gear from preventing broken teeth and injuries to the jaw, lips or tongue.
A mouthguard is also known as sports guards or athletes mouth protectors. These are rubber-like covers designed that fit over the teeth and protect from dental injuries. This includes-
- Crown or root fractures
- Jaw fracture and dislocations
- Avulsions and luxation
A mouthguard acts as shock absorbers as they absorb and diffuse impact energy. They also protect the aesthetic appearance and smile. There are 3 types of mouthguards-
- Stock mouth protectors
These are already made up and are ready to wear. They are not much expensive and can be found at sporting goods and department store. It is bulky that makes breathing and talking difficult and do not provide any protection.
- Boil and bite mouth protectors
This mouthguard is made from thermoplastic material and is available at a sporting goods store. It provides a better fit as compared to stock mouth protectors. Firstly, place it in hot water to soften and then in the mouth. With the use of finger and tongue pressure, shape it around.
- Custom-fitted mouth protectors
This mouthguard is designed individually and in the dental office or professional laboratory based on the dentist’s instructions. The dentist will take an impression of your teeth and mouthguard is made with the use of special material. It is quite expensive but provides comfort and protection.
Usually, mouthguards cover only upper teeth whereas in some cases dentist makes for lower jaw as well. Many people suffer from jaw pain, headaches or facial pain which is a problem of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or jaw muscles. In such situations, mouthguard provides relief who are suffering from TMJ and muscle discomfort.
The main causes of TMJ-
- Grinding or gnashing teeth which are known as bruxism. Some people tend to clench and grind teeth while sleeping or awake.
- Misaligned jaw such as protruding jaw, overbite or other teeth and jaw alignment issues. These are often genetic which can be treated with braces.
Symptoms of TMJ-
- Pain in or around the jaw.
- Pain around neck, face, shoulders or ear.
- Popping sounds while chewing.
- Trouble in opening mouth widely.
- Headaches, dizziness and migraines.
The treatment options depend on the cause and severity of the issues. The simplest solution is using a mouthguard which provides great relief. The dentist can suggest the best mouthguard which should be comfortable, durable, easy to clean and do not restrict your breathing or speech.
Importance of mouthguard when playing sports
During physical activity, there are high chances of accidents; mouthguard limits the risk of mouth-related injuries. You can save your lips, tongue, soft tissues, avoid chipped or broken teeth and tooth loss.
Many times it is possible an injury to the face could damage braces or other fixed appliances. A mouthguard is very important as it saves your braces or fixed bridgework. The dentist or orthodontist can determine the mouthguard that will protect your mouth work.
It is important to keep mouthguard clean and dry. Below are the few tips-
- Rinse mouthguard with cold water or clean with mild soap and a toothbrush.
- Clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
- Store the mouthguard in a firm, perforated container. This allows air circulation and also prevents damage. Keep the acrylic mouthguard in fresh clean water.
- Always protect the mouthguard from high temperatures such as hot water, hot surfaces or sunlight. This will minimize the distorting of shape.
- Check the mouthguard for general wear. If there are any holes or tears, it becomes loose. Get them replaced.
- Whenever you visit the dentist for a dental examination, take the mouthguard along with you.
Many sports organizations require their participants to wear a mouthguard for sporting activities. This will minimize the risk of any serious injury which is important in young kids. Mouthguards protect the teeth and reduce the amount of force transmitted from the impact point to the central nervous system.