Posted on: 08 September, 2020
An active lifestyle is important for your health, but it can also lead to serious dental injuries if you don't take steps to protect your teeth. That's why it's important for people of all ages to wear a mouthguard when taking part in any sporting activities that could put their teeth...
3 minute read
An active lifestyle is important for your health, but it can also lead to serious dental injuries if you don't take steps to protect your teeth. That's why it's important for people of all ages to wear a mouthguard when taking part in any sporting activities that could put their teeth at risk of damage or worse.
Mouthguards are available from many sports stores and other retailers, but as these are not custom made for your mouth, they can only provide limited protection for your teeth. If you want to make sure you're giving your teeth or your child's teeth the most reliable protection possible, ask your dentist about custom mouthguards. Custom-fitted mouthguards are designed to fit your child’s mouth precisely and for this reason offer more protection and comfort.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends that anyone taking part in contact sports or other pastimes that put their mouth at risk of injury should wear a custom-fitted mouthguard. Many schools and sports clubs in Perth and across Australia have introduced a mandatory mouthguard policy that requires compliance from all players.
Mouthguards are most beneficial for sports that involve a major risk of impacts to the face from contact with balls, equipment or other players. This includes but is not limited to:
It's just as important to wear a mouthguard while training as during matches. Falls or collisions during activities such as cycling, skateboarding and scooter riding are also major causes of dental injuries, so a mouthguard should be considered in these situations too.
While everyone can benefit from the protection of a mouthguard, you may be at greater risk of dental injuries if you have an orthodontic condition such as protruding teeth. Dentists can design custom-fitted sports mouthguards that are comfortable and protective even if you're currently having orthodontic treatment.
Dental injuries can be painful and expensive to treat. When you wear a custom-fitted mouthguard provided by your dentist, you're less likely to have a serious dental emergency such as a chipped, cracked or knocked-out tooth, cuts inside your mouth or a broken jaw.
A custom mouthguard can't prevent all injuries, but by absorbing shocks and protecting your teeth, jaws and the soft tissues inside your mouth, it can significantly reduce the severity of injuries compared to no mouthguard or a poorly-fitted mouthguard.
There are three common types of sports mouthguards. In order of how much protection they offer, they are:
The cheapest option, but also the least protective, these pre-formed mouthguards are not personalised to the individual wearer, so they're more likely to feel loose and uncomfortable and may affect speech, breathing or performance.
Another over-the-counter option, these mouthguards can be shaped to the wearer's mouth, but the fit is looser than a custom-made mouthguard and the mouthguard is likely to be less protective and less comfortable. As these mouthguards tend to go out of shape after one season, they need to be replaced often.
Made by your dentist to fit comfortably over your teeth, custom mouthguards are more expensive, but they also offer more protection and comfort and allow for normal breathing and speaking. A custom mouthguard can usually last for several seasons before it needs to be replaced, depending on how frequently it's used, how well it's looked after and whether your bite has changed.
While most mouthguards are designed to protect the mouth during sports and recreational activities, dentists may also recommend a custom mouthguard or occlusal splint to treat a condition such as bruxism (teeth grinding), obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
(Want to learn more about TMJD? Read our blog: 9 Things You Should Know About TMJ Pain)
If you're thinking about getting a custom mouthguard for yourself or a child, find out if your local dental clinic offers this service and make an appointment. Your dentist can explain how the process works, how much a mouthguard costs and answer any other questions you have, so you can decide whether a custom mouthguard is the best choice for you.
If you decide to go ahead, your dentist will take impressions of your teeth that will be used to design your unique mouthguard. You may also be able to customise the colour for your sports team.
After your mouthguard has been manufactured, your dentist will book a return appointment where they can check that it fits and give you advice about how to use and it and care for it properly.
Your mouthguard can only do its job when it's well cared for. Your dentist can give you instructions about how to look after your mouthguard to keep it in good condition and extend its lifespan. This includes:
You should bring your mouthguard along when you have your regular dental check-ups so your dentist can check its condition and recommend a replacement when needed.
An adult mouthguard may last for a number of years if it's kept in good condition, but a child's mouthguard should be replaced every 12 to 18 months as their mouth continues to change.
Your dentist can give you an accurate quote for your custom mouthguard price during your consultation, however the average price is approximately $200.
Keep in mind that the cost of treating possible dental injuries can far exceed the cost of a mouthguard.
Mouthguard costs are not covered by benefits such as the government's Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), but some health funds do provide cover. EVP Dental is a Bupa preferred dentist in Perth and part of the HCF More for Teeth Program, which both offer custom mouthguard cover for eligible members. Check with your insurer to see if you're covered.
Our dentists at EVP Dental can manufacture custom mouthguards in Perth for all ages and for sports teams. Call 08 9470 3944 or make an online booking request and we'll arrange your appointment at a time that suits you.