Mouthguards protect the teeth from injury during contact sports. Most commonly used in boxing and football, mouth guards can also provide protection in a variety of other sports such as soccer, basketball, lacrosse, hockey, etc. Not only do they help prevent oral/facial injuries, mouthguards are currently being researched to decrease the rate of concussions. See sportsdentistry.com to find out more information on theories of how mouth guards may help with concussions.
There are 3 types of mouthguards; stock, boil and bite, and custom mouthguards made by a dentist.
Stock Mouth Guards - These mouth guards are the cheapest and least protective. They are ready to use right out of the package. They are uncomfortable and don't fit properly. Athletes often cut them to fit better which loses its limited protective function.
Boil and Bite Mouth Guards - Exactly what the name implies. Boil and bite mouth guards are removed from the package, boiled in water to soften the material, and molded to the teeth with finger pressure and biting into it. Although better than stock guards, they are not recommended. Reports have shown that boil and bite mouth guards provide a false sense of protection because of the 70-99% decrease in thickness.* For proper protection, the material needs to maintain it's thickness. Biting into the material results in the posterior teeth nearly touching or actually contacting. A blow to the chin would result in a fracture of the posterior teeth or worse a concussion.
Custom Mouth Guards - An impression is taken of the athlete's mouth. These mouth guards are then either vacuum-formed or pressure laminated to the mold from the impression. Custom mouth guards give a precise fit, provide optimal protection, and last longer than the previous options. Because of the durability, athletes can use one custom mouth guard rather than multiple other mouth guards during the year.
Can mouth guards be used with braces? Definitely. A little more care is taken to avoid the brackets. They are highly recommended after braces because they adapt closer to the teeth.
How to care for your custom mouthguard. (Recommendations by the ADA)
1. Rinse before or after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste
2. Occasionally clean the mouth guard in cool soapy water and rinse thoroughly
3. Transport the mouthguard in a sturdy container that has vents
4. Never store in the sun or place in hot water
5. Check for wear occasionally and replace when necessary
The bottom line is that the main purpose of athletic mouthguards is to protect the teeth. With a lot of time and money being placed into the straightening of teenagers’ teeth, it’s worth the small investment. We were entrusted as the team dentist for the Utah Blaze Arena Football Team from 2010-2013. Starting in 2023, we were again asked to supply the mouthguards for the local Major League Rugby team The Utah Warriors. The high-quality mouthguards we supply for the team are the same we provide for our patients. For under-18 sports groups in the Salt Lake City area, we will discount the cost of a custom-made mouthguard by 20% using code Rugby23. Additional discounts apply for teams greater than 7. Call or text us at 801-277-1412 for details. Call or text us at 801-277-1412 for details.
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I have been seeing Dr. Smith for at least the last 10 years - He and his staff are professional, friendly, and gentle - they truly are THE BEST! They always explain what is happening and give me all of my options up front. They care about my oral health and help me make the best decisions for my teeth. Getting an appointment is easy as well. The atmosphere of the office and the attitude of his team is fantastic. It's an appointment that I actually look forward to going to. Highly recommended.
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Dr. Smith showed great care in my oral issues and my situation overall. He was able to do a full face scan and then lay out a plan for me. I have been needing work done for a while. Now instead of fearing the dentist we actually look forward to it. Amazing work!
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KUDOS to my dentist Craig Smith. I went in Friday afternoon to get a bad tooth extracted. After muscling the tooth out, I had instant relief. NO MEDS or ANTIBIOTICS for me. I won't take them and didn't need them. There was a little discomfort, of course, after the Novocaine wore off but by the next day, I am completely back to normal. No pain! Craig R O C K S!!