Mouthguard, you might have heard of it before, especially if you are into sports, but do you know why is it necessary?
A mouthguard is a protective device for the mouth that covers the teeth and gums to prevent and reduce injury to the teeth, arches, lips, and gums. In sports like box, gymnastics, etc, or hobbies like skateboard a mouthguard could be of major importance.
What is a Mouthguard?
- It is a removable dental device
- It is made of elastic materials
- You wear it on your upper jaw only
- It is resistant to deformation
Why is it Necessary?
- It protects teeth from injuries
- It protects soft tissues from injuries
- It protects your jaws and neck
- It protects your TMJ
- It protects your brain from a potential concussion
How Does a Mouthguard Really Work?
- A mouthguard has a specific mechanism of action, a shock absorption capacity. The energy of the impact is absorbed by the mouthguard so that the clinical consequences are avoided, such as extraction of teeth, injuries to the soft or hard tissues, TMJ injuries, etc.
- Also, the mouthguard is placed in between teeth, so they are not in contact, which forces the condyle to stay out from its socket, preventing it from potential injuries.
- Since it is elastic, it can protect the brain from any concussion, by reducing the energy of the impact.
Which Type of Mouthguard Should I Choose?
According to researches the use of a custom-made mouthguard in comparison with a pre-fabricated one can reduce the percentages of brain concussion from 8,3% to 3,9%. The pre-fabricated one has better retention and is easier accepted by the patient since it fits him better.
What is the Procedure?
Two very easy and fast appointments with your dentist are enough.
After a thorough medical history and clinical examination, you will discuss with your dentist your needs, problems, and sport or hobbies, how often do you train and what time of training exactly. The next step is impression taking. The impressions will then go to the dental lab where the dental technician will fabricate your very own mouthguard.
At your next meeting, you will try your mouthguard and its fit. Any corrections needed will be performed and you are ready to go.
Basic Characteristics a Mouthguard Should Have:
- Protect hard and soft tissues, as well as your TMJ
- Reduce the risk of brain concussion
- It should have the ability to adapt to the needs of the patient
- It should provide adequate retention
- It should be stable
- Occlusion should be balanced
- It should be odor and taste-free
- The athlete should be able to breathe and speak while wearing it
What is its Life Span?
Ideally, the mouthguard should be replaced after each sports season. They wear after time and they are not as effective.
Athina Tsiorva DDS