Mouthguards should be worn for contact sports, like basketball, soccer, and lacrosse, where a ball or other players may hit players. This year alone, it is estimated that more than 5 million teeth will be knocked out due to sports.
However, the American Dental Association states that sports mouthguards can prevent over 200,000 tooth injuries. Professional custom-fit sports mouthguards can prevent people from resorting to solutions such as dental crowns or tooth bonding for cracked and chipped teeth. They may also prevent missing teeth and the need for restorative treatments.
Dr. Ben Ahlbrecht, our dentist in Indianapolis, IN, and the North Meridian Dental Excellence team, offers custom sports mouthguards in Indianapolis, IN. This general dental solution protects teeth from hits and injuries to the mouth. Learn about the different benefits of mouthguards below:
Treatment with Custom Mouthguards
To create a mouth guard, dental impressions are taken of teeth to ensure a custom fit. Once Dr. Ahlbrecht and his team receive the completed mouthguard from the lab, it should be cleaned regularly with an antibacterial solution and thoroughly cleaned monthly. Routine care like this prevents bacteria growth and keeps the appliance fresh for regular use.
Benefits of Mouthguards
A good-fitting mouthguard can:
- Prevent knocked-out teeth
- Minimize the risk of injury to soft tissues in the mouth
- Reduce the chance of contact sports-related concussions
- Protect the lower jaw from trauma
- Allow the wearer to speak clearly
- Provide a secure and stable fit
- Reduce stress on the neck
- Prevent chipped and damaged teeth
Over-the-counter mouthguards often do not provide a custom fit and can easily fall out during sports. They may also not be as comfortable as custom professional mouthguards. Our professional mouthguard easily conforms to teeth for a good and balanced fit.
Custom Vs. Store-Bought Mouthguards
Many people question if a custom mouthguard is necessary, as the price is higher than what you’d find in a drugstore. But custom guards provide many benefits over the store-bought version. Drugstore mouthguards claim to be a custom fit because you boil them and then bite to form them to your teeth. But there’s only so much customization this provides. All of them are still a certain size, and that size may not be suitable for you.
Because they’re ill-fitting, you usually have to bite down on over-the-counter guards the entire time they’re in your mouth so they don’t fall out. You can’t communicate with your teammates or get a quick drink of water without removing the mouthguard. This is hard to do when you’re running back and forth on a field.
When you have to bite down on your mouthguard constantly, it puts strain and tension throughout your jaw muscles. This leads to problems with TMJ disorders, impacting how your jaw joint feels and functions. TMJ causes things like pain throughout your jaw and neck, popping and clicking when you open and close your mouth, and you may have issues using your jaw. It can get stuck in certain positions or be unable to move certain ways.
Though custom mouthguards are more expensive, you have reassurance that your mouthguard will fit perfectly. It stays in your mouth with ease, so you don’t have to bite down on it. It leaves you free to talk to your teammates and take drinks of water when you need them. It eliminates the tension and clenching, so you can avoid further jaw issues.
Caring for Your Custom Mouthguard
Your mouthguard can only protect your teeth if you care for it properly. After each use, rinse it out with cool water. Never use hot water on your mouthguard, as this can warp the material of the guard. Rinsing it eliminates any saliva or debris that are on it to eliminate buildup. Without cleaning, your guard can start to smell bad and harmful bacteria build up on it. Bacteria buildup can be enough to make you severely sick or even die.
Each day, you should thoroughly clean your mouthguard, too. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and non-abrasive toothpaste to clean the guard. You can use a mild soap instead of toothpaste. Avoid using anything harsh or abrasive, as this can damage the mouthguard. Make sure to clean all of the surfaces of the guard, both inside and out. Bacteria can cling to every surface on the mouthguard.
Weekly, do a deep clean and sterilization of your mouthguard. Certain denture and retainer cleaners are ideal for soaking the mouthguard. Don’t use bleach, harsh cleaners, or alcohol-based mouthwashes, as these can deteriorate the material, making it less protective or more prone for failure.
Not only do you have to clean the mouthguard properly, but you have to store it properly, too. Store it in a ventilated case, as bacteria thrive in a warm, wet environment. Ventilation allows air flow to dry the guard. Ensure you clean your case regularly, too, to prevent bacteria buildup. Don’t leave it in direct sunlight on a windowsill or in your car, as heat warps and damages the material.
Custom Mouthguards FAQs
Mouthguards are essential to keeping your teeth safe in high-contact situations. Learn more by reading the answers to these commonly asked questions.
Can I drink water with a mouthguard?
You may drink water with a mouthguard, but you should avoid other drinks while wearing your mouthguard. Patients should clean and brush their mouthguards to remove bacteria before and after every use. Drinks with added sugars can damage your mouthguard.
How long do night mouthguards last?
On average, night guards last between 5-10 years. The lifespan of a night guard varies based on the patient’s oral care and teeth-grinding habits. Night guards are used to relieve teeth-grinding symptoms and prevent damage at night while sleeping.
Can I soak my mouthguard in mouthwash?
Most patients soak their mouthguards in water. If you use mouthwash to clean your mouthguard, only dip it in and then rinse it with water. If you soak it for a long time or leftover mouthwash is left on the mouthguard, it can cause unrepairable damage.
Schedule a Dental Exam Today
Do you need a custom mouthguard to wear during contact sports? Call our Indianapolis, IN office at 317.204.7134. Schedule an appointment with North Meridian Dental Excellence for comprehensive and professional dental care. Our professional dentists are dedicated to personalizing treatment to fit each patient’s needs, budget, and goals.