With the active nature of our children, the importance of mouthguards cannot be understated. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry strongly recommends them, while some sporting organizations are even making requirements. Fitting along the upper teeth, mouthguards protect the wearer against traumatic injury. This saves both the aesthetic look and physical health of a smile, often for a cost of just about ten dollars. In addition to athletic mouthguards, sometimes mouthguards are needed for patients who grind their teeth while sleeping.
How do mouthguards work?
The main purpose of mouthguards lie in preventative care, shielding teeth from rough impact. In addition, mouthguards are charged with reducing any force to the jaw. That force can travel all the way to the central nervous system, at the base of the brain. In turn, mouthguards minimize the risk of brain injuries and head trauma.
Mouthguards decrease the likelihood of:
- Cheek lesions
- Gum and soft tissue injuries
- Jawbone fractures
- Lip lesions
- Neck injuries
- Tongue lesions
- Tooth breakage
What type of mouthguard is best for my child?
Thousands of brands manufacture mouthguards, but most can be placed into one of three major categories: Stock, boil and bite, and customized. When considering the purchase of a mouthguard, make sure to take budget, the frequency of use and purpose of use into account. Advantages and disadvantages are characteristic of each type of mouthguard.
Stock – These most basic types of mouthguards can be found in any sporting goods store. Bought directly off the shelf, stock mouthguards are one size fits all. Though they do not adjust to the individual’s mouth, they are cheap to purchase and easy to find. Pediatric dentists are not the greatest fans of these products, as they are minimally protective, obstruct proper breathing and are often uncomfortable for the wearer.
Boil & Bite – This type of mouthguard is constructed with thermoplastic. Borrowing from its name, the mouthguard needs to be immersed in hot water to become malleable and then fitted to the wearer’s mouth. Also available in most sporting good stores, these boil and bite mouthguards are slightly more expensive, but provide greater protection and comfort, as they are unique to the user.
Customized – Customizable mouthguards offer the greatest protection. The dentist builds this type, as a mouth impression of the patient is taken and the mouthguard is created from this mold. While they are more expensive and take longer to receive, these mouthguards are preferred because they are orthodontically correct and fully approved by dentists.
Worried about this decision? Dr. Steve Walton in Columbus can help!