Summertime is full of outdoor activities for both adults and children. Many of these sports involve contact and can be dangerous to teeth if you don’t take the time to properly protect them. Although you may think that mouth guards are only for sports like hockey or football, any activities that involve contact or falling down require having protection for your pearly whites. This can include everything from skateboarding to baseball. These guards can help protect both your upper and lower sets of teeth and save you the pain and expense of serious dental work. According to the National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries, the most common types of face injuries are dental. In addition, the American Dental Association reported that over 200,000 injuries per year are averted by using properly made mouth guards in high school and college football alone. There are a few different types of mouth guards out there, and McKinney Dentist Dr. Paul Lawrence can help you choose the best ones for your needs.
Stock Guards Not Recommended
Mouth guards come in various varieties, but the most common are stock guards, which you can find in most sporting goods stores. As they are readily available, these models are often the least expensive. They are pre-molded and do not offer any adjustment. Though these guards are ready to use right off the shelf, they can feel uncomfortable in their fit and even are known to affect how you breathe or talk. Some of these guards must also be held in place by the constant pressure of your bite, so they provide inadequate protection against oral injuries. If you try to modify those stock guards by altering their shape, their effectiveness can be reduced even further.
The Boil and Bite Option
Another mouth guard option is called the boil and bite. As the name suggests, the guards are put in very hot water to soften them up, and then you bite down on them to “shape” to your mouth. These kinds of mouth guards are also commonly found in athletic and sporting good stores. With these types of guards, it is very important to follow the included directions to get the very best fit to your mouth. The downside of these guards is that they are only offered in a few different sizes and often do not cover all of the teeth that they need to. Also, as with stock varieties, it is inadvisable to try to alter or change a boil and bite model.
The Best Option is Custom Fitted
By far, the best option to protect your teeth is the custom-fitted mouth guard. Usually a dentist like McKinney dentist Dr. Paul Lawrence will take a mold of your mouth and carefully measure your teeth and their shape. He will then send that mold and those measurements to a laboratory, which specializes in making custom guards. A dentist may also ask about the types of sports you want to use the guard with, as well as any pertinent dental history to help them create the right guard for your mouth. A custom-fitted mouth guard will provide the best protection option for your teeth, and though a guard that has been customized to your mouth will cost more than one off the shelf, it will offer the most safety against tooth loss and even gum damage.
Dr. Paul Lawrence, your dentist in McKinney, Texas, would be more than happy to talk with you about mouth guards and which options might be the best for your needs. If you live in Plano, Allen, McKinney, or any of the neighboring communities please give our office a call today!