Many people spend a lot of money on sporting equipment. They want to buy the very best to help enhance their sporting abilities but unfortunately, one vital piece of equipment is often overlooked. The value of buying a properly fitting mouthguard is underestimated. Each year more than 5 million teeth are knocked out, often because of trauma during sporting events.
The cost of treating an avulsed or knocked out tooth can be considerable over the course of a lifetime, costing anywhere from $5000 right up to $20,000. It seems crazy when you consider the low cost of getting a custom-made mouthguard. When you wear a properly fitted mouthguard, the possibility and potential severity of dental injuries are reduced, along with the cost of dental care to treat such injuries.
Dentists recommend that anybody who enjoys contact and some non-contact sports should get a well-made mouthguard. Anyone doing any activity where there is a risk of taking a blow to the mouth should get a well-made, sports mouthguard. The very first sporting activity to make wearing a mouthguard mandatory was boxing in the early 20th century.
Some decades later football players began using mouthguards and by 1962 the National Collegiate Athletic Association had made their use mandatory. Nowadays mouthguards are required for field and ice hockey and for women’s and men’s lacrosse. However, even though dental injuries of frequent amongst basketball and baseball players, many people fail to wear mouthguards.
At the moment, it’s recommended by the American Dental Association that mouthguards should be used. It’s recommended by the International Academy for Sports Dentistry that mouthguards should be used for 29 different sports. If you are not sure if your favorite sport puts you at risk of a dental injury, just ask your dentist.
Choosing Your Mouthguard
If you have had a good look around your local sporting goods store recently you should have seen ready-made mouthguards. If you have a look at your local drugstore, then you’ve probably seen there are lots of ready-made mouthguards that only cost a few dollars. These are generally available in several different sizes and must be kept in place by making sure your mouth is closed over them.
Some offer users the ability to shape the mouthguard to fit their mouth. They often do this by softening it in hot water before adapting it as best they can to fit over their teeth and gums. These types of mouthguards are often called ‘boil and bite’mouthguards. While over-the-counter mouthguards offer some protection and are definitely better than nothing, they are often quite uncomfortable to wear.
The temptation is to leave them out completely. In contrast, custom-made mouthguards are individually designed and will be much more comfortable. With a custom-made mouthguard, your dentist will make sure that critical areas of your mouth are protected with adequate cushioning. They will add protection by thickening the mouthguard when necessary.
A custom-made mouthguard will fit firmly in your mouth, staying in place much more easily without hindering your breathing. These types of mouthguards are made from s very tough, odor-free and taste-free material. They generally come in a huge range of different colors and designs which may make them more appealing for children and teenagers to wear. If your kid currently wears braces, a custom-made mouthguard can be adapted to fit over them.
What Is the Process for Having a Custom-Made Mouthguard?
All you need to do is to visit your general dentist to ask them to make a mouthguard for you. They will simply have to take a detailed dental impression of your mouth. It is then cast up in dental plaster to make a working model that will be used to make your mouthguard. This ensures that your mouthguard will fit exactly in your mouth. Once it is ready, your dentist will fit your mouthguard and will make any necessary adjustments to ensure it feels secure and comfortable.
Your dentist will need to regularly evaluate the condition of your mouthguard. If it is for a child, this evaluation will take place every six months during their dental checkup. Children’s mouths develop quite quickly so their mouthguard will need replacing more frequently than an adult’s. However, when you consider the potential lifetime costs of dental treatment, then this small expense is well worth it.
What to Do If You Have a Dental Injury Due to Sports
If the worst happens and you do have a dental injury, don’t panic. You should get in touch with your dental office immediately. This is so that they can offer advice over the phone and they will schedule you an appointment as quickly as possible. You must act quickly if you knock out a tooth as there is only a small window of opportunity to try to re-implant it. Re-implantation is any generally successful within the first half an hour to an hour.
If you do knock out a tooth, carefully pick it up by its crown which is the part you can normally see in the mouth and rinse off any visible dirt. Do not attempt to remove any loose tissues on the tooth root. If you can, carefully reinsert the tooth into the empty socket taking care to make sure it faces the correct way around. Hold the tooth in place with a clean finger or you can gently bite down on a clean tissue.
Go and see your dentist immediately. If you can’t face re-implanting the tooth, carefully store the tooth in a small container with a little saliva or milk. It is best not to use water as this can damage the tooth root, but use it if nothing else is available as the tooth must be kept moist. Alternatively, you can store it in your cheek but take care not to swallow it!
If a child knocks out a baby tooth then you shouldn’t try to reinsert it because it could damage the adult tooth underneath. However, your kid will still need to see a dentist as quickly as possible. Even if your sporting injury only causes a small chip or crack in a tooth, you should still seek professional dental care as soon as you can. This is because any chip or crack in a tooth can let in bacteria which will cause infection and decay.
It’s far more cost-effective to get this kind of dental injury treated as soon as possible than to wait until you need root canal therapy for a bad tooth infection.