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Section Questions and Answers

The Mouthguard

"Sports injuries occur not only in contact sports, but also in individual activities such as bicycling, skating, gymnastics and especially on trampolines. Each sport predisposes its participants to a specific array of risk factors. In contact sports, the absence of protective equipment such as headguards and mouthguards is a major risk factor." - U.S. Surgeon General's Report

  1. What is a mouthguard?
  2. What protection does a mouthguard provide?
  3. Which injuries can be prevented?
  4. How is a custom-made mouthguard designed by the dentist?
  5. What are the characteristics of a good mouthguard?
  6. What other mouthguards are available?

 
1. What is a mouthguard?

  • A mouthguard is a flexible plastic shield that is worn over the upper teeth.
    It is used to protect the upper and lower teeth from impact injuries.

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2. What protection does a mouthguard provide?

  • It is designed to protect and support the teeth and gums.
  • The lower teeth are protected from being damaged by any upward force to the lower jaw.

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3. Which injuries can be prevented?

  • A mouth guard can prevent damage to the teeth, gums, jaws, jaw joints, neck, and even to the brain.
  • In the event of a hard blow, it can prevent concussion and reverberation damage.

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4. How is a custom-made mouthguard designed by the dentist?

  • A custom-made or professional mouthguard is available from a dentist.
  • The design of the mouthguard will be influenced by the following considerations:
    • The condition of the mouth and teeth.
    • The age and stage of tooth development of the wearer.
    • The design may need to allow for orthodontic braces or erupting teeth.
    • A particular sport may need a guard made of a heavier and more protective material.
  • The procedure is as follows:
    • The dentist takes impressions of the upper and lower teeth.
    • These are sent to the dental technician together with any other relevant information.
    • The technician makes a cast from the dentist's impression.
    • The mouthguard is "custom-made" by being moulded over this cast of the wearer's teeth.

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Cast and mouthguard
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Mouthguard
(custom-made)
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Mouthguard in use

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5. What are the characteristics of a good mouthguard?

  • A good mouthguard will have the characteristics listed below:
    • It must have a tight fit to ensure that it cannot be easily dislodged.
    • It must be flexible, to cushion the force of an impact.
    • It should have a minimal effect on breathing and speech.
    • It must not be too bulky as this would hinder breathing and speech.
    • It must be comfortable and fully protective.
  • Mouthguards can be made for wearers of all ages, whatever their stage of dental development.
  • The professional made-to-measure mouthguards are generally preferable to those bought off the shelf.

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6. What other mouthguards are available?

  • Mouthguards can be bought off the shelf from sports shops and drug stores or pharmacies.
  • They are available in various sizes, and come ready made.
  • These are usually the "boil and bite" type of mouthguards.
    • These are softened in hot water, and then placed into the mouth for shaping.
    • The instructions are easy to follow, but these mouthguards can be bulky and are not always tight fitting.
  • Others come in a kit form with a tray or shell for taking your own impression of your teeth. It includes the plastic material for the do-it-yourself, "custom-made" mouthguard.
    • This allows the soft material to be placed into the tray and pushed up over the upper teeth.
    • The soft plastic material then hardens and the mouthguard is formed.
    • Trimming is needed as well as some do-it-yourself ( D.I.Y.) skills.
    • The result can be good.
  • All these alternatives have the advantage of being cheaper than the mouthguards from by the dentist.
  • We recommend the professional mouthguard.

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"Boil and bite"
mouthguard
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"Boil and bite"
mouthguard in use
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Junior mouthguard

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