SPORTS GUARDS: AN EFFECTIVE WAY TO PROTECT YOUR ORAL HEALTH
A sports guard is a flexible appliance that is worn in athletic and recreational activities to protect teeth from trauma. Our office supports the use of sports guards for children and adults in various sports activities.
A sports guard can prevent serious injuries such as broken teeth, jaw fractures, cerebral haemorrhage and neck injuries by helping to avoid situations where the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw. Sportguards may also reduce the incidence and severity of concussions.
Anytime there is a strong chance for contact with other participants or hard surfaces, it is advisable to wear a sports guard. Players who participate in hockey, soccer, basketball, softball, football, martial arts, volleyball, squash, racquetball and wrestling should wear sports guards while practising and competing.
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RISKS OF NOT WEARING SPORTS GUARDS
Maintaining good oral health is essential for the normal functioning of life. While playing sports or during physical activities, people are at higher risk of encountering oral injuries, which can severely affect their overall health as well. That’s why wearing mouthguards or sports guards become necessary in such situations to minimise the occurrence of injuries. If a person is not wearing mouthguards while playing sports, he can cause severe damage to his teeth, gums, and jaws, causing a dental emergency, including:
- Chipped, broken, or knocked-out teeth
- Nerve and root damage to the teeth
- Cheek injuries, such as bruising or cuts
- Fractured jaws
- Fractured crowns and bridgework
TYPES OF SPORTS GUARDS
There are basically three types of sports guards that are chosen according to people’s preferences and requirements, including:
1. READY-MADE SPORTS GUARDS
These are the most economical and can be bought at most sports stores. Sometimes, they make it difficult to breathe and speak and are often bulky, loose and uncomfortable. That’s why it is important to select the right size sports guards while buying them.
2. BOIL-AND-BITE SPORTSCARDS
These mouthguards or sports guards are available at most sporting goods stores and may offer a slightly better fit. You can mould these guards to fit your mouth by boiling them in water.
3. CUSTOM-FITTED SPORTS GUARD
Our office can design and construct a custom-fitted sports guard made from a mould of your teeth. While this type of guard is more expensive than others, it offers the best protection, fit, comfort level and prevention of possible injury.
MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPORTS GUARDS AND NIGHT GUARDS
Both night guards and sports guards are designed to protect oral health, but they serve in different ways. Sports guards or mouthguards protect your teeth from injuries while playing sports, while night guards are worn during sleep because constant clenching and teeth-grinding habits can cause severe damage to jaws, gums, and teeth.
That’s why dentists recommend people wear night guards at night in order to prevent oral issues caused by clenching and grinding. Some night guards are also custom-made to provide you with a perfect fit, additional comfort, and increased protection. Generally, night guards can cost you around $300 to $500.
COMMON MATERIAL FOR SPORTS GUARDS
Sports guards are generally made from polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl acetate copolymer, and rubber. These sports guards are designed to fit according to the shape and size of the mouth of the wearer.
However, sometimes, they do not fit well and cause problems while speaking or breathing. In such cases, dentists usually take impressions of their patient’s mouths and provide them with custom-made mouthguards that are more durable and comfortably fitted.
HOW SHOULD YOU SELECT A SPORTS GUARD?
You should choose a mouthguard that comfortably fits in your mouth, is easy to clean, is tear-resistant, resilient, durable, and does not hinder your breathing or speech.
Although mouthguards are essential devices during sports activities, sometimes they can become a reason for severe inconvenience; that’s why it is necessary to keep all the above-mentioned factors in mind while purchasing sports guards or mouthguards.
COSTS OF SPORTS GUARDS
The costs of sports guards vary from person to person and are dependent on the type and quality of sports guards. However, the approximate costs of custom-fit sports guards vary between $100 to $500.