Dental protection with protective mouthguard

Welcome to issue eighteen of YOUR DENTAL CARE News.

In our seventeenth issue we discussed about Bruxism or teeth grinding

In this issue we will discuss use of mouth guards.

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The mighty mouth guard!

Sports mouth guards are used to protect the teeth. Mouth guards also protect the jaw joints from impact trauma. When the jaw is hit and the teeth are forced together the mouth guard will absorb the shock.

Wearing a mouth guard can also reduce the chances of concussion when the lower jaw is forcefully pushed against the upper teeth. The cushioning effect of the appliance acts like a shock absorber to reduce the force against the blow to the jaw.

mighty mouthguards

A simple mouth guard is placed only on the upper teeth. This is commonly used in most sports. However in more vigorous contact sport like boxing there are other mouth guards which fit on the upper and lower jaws. This fixes the lower jaw in one position and helps prevent the jaw moving sideways when hit.

Mouth guards can be custom made or a prefabricated boil and bite guard purchased from retail outlets. The custom fitted mouth guards are better as they are made to fit around the teeth and mouth which makes wearing them more comfortable.

The prefabricated mouth guards can sometimes be too rigid in some areas around the teeth. This can lead to teeth breaking as the tooth is twisted within the rigid portion. Also depending on how you manipulate the material in your mouth whilst molding it the material may not mold adequately making wearing uncomfortable and awkward.

Mouth guard material redistributes the forces applied on teeth. This ensures no one or two teeth will bear the full force of the assault. It is the redistribution of an acute force which prevents teeth breaking.

Is the custom fitted mouth guards better?

Yes they are. The material is made to be of an even thickness across the front teeth for better protection. Also they are tightly fitting and won’t move around. A loose guard is a useless prop for protecting teeth. But best of all custom made mouth guards come in different colours and can even be made with different designs!

The prefabricated mouth guards are good for people with orthodontic braces. The presence of the brackets on teeth makes it difficult for a custom mouth guard to be made. Also the teeth are constantly changing position so it is a case of being pragmatic about the application of a guard to the situation at hand.

When should a mouth guard be worn?

A mouth guard should be worn if the activity you engage in exposes you to the potential for a blow to the head area. Mouth guards are mandatory for all contact sport. An adult only has one set of teeth for life, don’t lose it if you can help it.

In our next article we will look into the dark world of oral cancer.

Till then keep on smiling.


Roland Chong

Roland Chong

Roland has over 20 years experience as a general dentist. Roland does all aspects of general dentistry with a special interest in prosthodontics (crown and bridge work) and cosmetic dentistry. A member of the International Team of Implantology, Roland is constantly developing his skills by collaborating with international experts.

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