Mouth and Sports Guards

Injuries to the mouth and jaw are very common among athletes. Whether you wear braces or not, protecting your smile while playing sports is essential. Sports guards are recommended by the Canadian Dental Association to protect your jaw and teeth during physical activity, particularly when you participate in sports such as boxing, basketball, football, gymnastics, soccer or other activities where your mouth may get hit. Sports guards also protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining.

There are three basic types of sports guards:
1. Pre-made mouth guards available at most sporting good stores. They are bulky and very little can be done to adjust their fit. They make breathing and talking difficult and they provide little or no protection. We don't recommend this type.
2. "Boil-and-bite" fitted mouth guards available at many sporting goods stores. The guard, which is made of thermoplastic material, is placed in hot water to soften it. Then you place it in your mouth and use your fingers and tongue to shape it around your teeth. This gives you a better fit than pre-made mouth guards but it still can be bulky and uncomfortable.
3. Custom-made mouth guards individually designed in our office. First, we take an impression of your mouth to create an exact duplicate model of your teeth. A special material is then molded over this model to create the mouth guard. Because of the materials and work involved, a custom-made mouth guard is more expensive than the other two types, but it will give you the most comfort and the most protection.

Similar to sports guards, night guards are recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth at night as a way to protect their teeth and bite.

It is important to take care of your mouth guard by storing it properly and keeping it clean. At home, follow these care tips: After each use, gently scrub your mouth guard with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Store it in its protective case and do not leave it in the sun or hot water. Do not chew or cut pieces off of your sports guard. Bring your mouth guard to each dental checkup, so we can check to make sure it's still in good shape and not in need of replacement.

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