All you need to know about mouthguards

Sports Dentist

We take a detailed look at sports mouthguards including why to use one, the different types and explain why we make complimentary sports mouthguards for children aged 16 and under.

Importance of mouthguards

Sports mouthguards should be an essential piece of equipment for anyone participating in sports that may involve contact to the mouth. Check out our list of which sports require the use of mouthguards. Mouthguards are about much more than just protecting against chipped teeth. Broken teeth, displaced teeth or lost teeth carry life-long issues with maintenance and cost. There is also evidence to support the use of mouthguards in preventing against bone fractures, lip damage and even concussion. Our dental trauma case studies outline some consequences that can occur as a result of knocks playing sport without a mouthguard.

Types of mouthguards

All mouthguards are certainly not created equal. The protection afforded by a mouthguard is highly related to the precision with with it fits around the teeth which in turn is related to the way it is made. Sports mouthguards can be classified into:

  • Stock mouthguards - bought over-the-counter and not modified, offering little or no protection.

  • Boil and bite mouthguards - usually purchased from a chemist, these are heated and molded to the teeth at home.

  • Custom mouthguards - made by a dentist following an impression of the teeth. Are closely adapted to provide required protection. These have been extensively studied are the only type of mouthguards generally recommended for use.

The Australian Dental Association state that boil-and-bite mouthguards:

…fit poorly, are difficult to wear, thin out dramatically, provide poor protection, are difficult to adapt to the mouth’s anatomy, may be dislodged during use with a consequential risk of airway obstruction and are therefore not recommended.

What is involved in making a custom mouthguard?

A custom mouthguard involves taking an impression of the teeth at the dentist. An impression material is placed around the teeth, which is usually alginate - a sort of gel based on seaweed. Following this, a model is created as a replica of the teeth. A special mouthguard material is then heated and precisely adapted around this model using a vacuum or pressure forming machine.

The patient experience when taking an impression is usually quite easy and only takes a few minutes. A mouthguard typically takes approximately a week to fabricate and provide back to a patient but can be completed more quickly in some circumstances.

Why do we make mouthguards at no cost for our existing patients?

We believe strongly in prevention and we feel like we owe our regular patients a duty of care to try and protect their teeth as best as possible every day of the year. We see injuries that occur as a result of young patients not wearing mouthguards or wearing poorly fitting mouthguards which offer little protection.

That’s why we offer to make custom made mouthguards for all our regular patients aged 16 and under. Any patient of ours who has had a regular exam (check-up) within the last 6 months is eligible. Anyone not a regular patient of ours is also welcome to take us up on our offer - simply book in for an exam and we’re happy to take an impression on the day.

This offer is limited to one mouthguard per child in any 12 month period. Please note our color choices may also be limited and we generally only provide single-color mouthguards. Multiple colors are available on request but charges may apply.

Contact Us to make an appointment or to discuss our custom made mouthguards. Appointments can also be made online using the booking button below.

Aaron Martin