A cut lip, injured jaw and a few missing teeth, all could result from a sports game gone wrong – which is why it is essential for high-contact sport athletes to equip themselves with mouthguards..
Dentists may find themselves having to perform a number of dental treatments to fix injuries, with dental implants one procedure which may be common.
This can be administered to athletes who have lost a tooth or several teeth, by inserting an artificial substitute into the jawbone.
The American Dental Association (ADA) said that about a third of all dental injuries are thought to be sports-related, with a simple customised mouthguard having the potential to help prevent these from happening.
How do they protect the mouth?
A blow to the cheek or a cricket ball straight to the teeth can cause injury that may affect the way a person eats, speaks and smiles.
A mouthguard helps to “cushion a blow to the face” minimising the damage that may be caused to the teeth, lips, tongue or jaw.
According to the ADA, studies have shown that athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer harm to their teeth when they are not wearing a mouthguard.
Mouthguards generally cover the upper teeth and help to protect the “soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining”.
There are different types of mouthguards available, with some available for purchase from the supermarket and others custom-made by dentists.
If an athlete has braces, they can ask their dentist to have a mouthguard properly fitted to their teeth. It’s important that the braces are also protected as it can create much more damage if not properly cared for.
Who needs to wear a mouthguard?
Sports outlined by the ADA that may require the use of a mouthguard include basketball, rugby, soccer, boxing, field and ice hockey, football, cricket and lacrosse.
Non-contact sports such as gymnastics have also been highlighted by the ADA as possibly needing a mouthguard, with many experts recommending its use in any recreational activity that may be a risk of dental injury.
To get optimal mouth protection, having a mouthguard custom-made can be a good option.
This can help to ensure that the mouthguard is suitably fitted to the tooth line and shape of the jaw and mouth.
A consultation is usually the first step in getting a customised mouth guard to discuss the sport it will be used for, followed by an assessment of the mouth from a dentist to determine what will provide the best coverage and fit.