Can you imagine your front tooth getting knocked out while playing your favourite sport? How about experiencing a fractured jaw or concussion?
Sports-related oral injuries and trauma are among the most common experienced by athletes – young and old, and of any ability. In Australia, thousands of adults and children are treated for emergency oral injury and trauma each year.
Participation in a number of sports or physical activities may increase the risk of oral injury, including the following:
- Contact sports – rugby, touch football, hockey, volleyball, polo, soccer, basketball, netball, boxing, martial arts, wrestling, weightlifting, basketball, baseball and cricket.
- Non-contact sports – gymnastics, acrobatics, track & field, cycling, skiing and squash.
- Recreational activities – climbing, mountain biking, skateboarding, roller-blading, horse riding, sky diving and surfing.
Essentially, any sport or activity with the possibility of contact with another player or a hard surface carries a higher risk of oral injury. The damage occurs when your mouth or chin area sustains a strong blow or impact during a game or even at training.
Wearing the right mouthguard – when playing contact sports or undertaking risky recreational activities – is important if you want to prevent serious oral injury to your teeth, jaw, mouth, lips, tongue and inner cheeks.
How do mouthguards work?
Mouthguards are worn to provide protection for both the hard oral tissue (teeth and jaw bone) and soft oral tissue (lips, tongue, cheeks and gums). Mouthguards help to absorb, spread and dissipate the impact forces of a blow or direct hit to the mouth and chin area. They also help stabilise the head and neck at the same time.
Some other benefits from wearing a protective mouthguard include the following:
- Helps prevents concussion. Concussions occur when the lower jaw hinge impacts forcefully up into the base of the skull. Mouthguards act as “shock absorbers” and can cushion blows to the chin.
- Prevents contact between your upper and lower teeth and jaws.
- Saves on dental costs. By preventing oral injury, your investment in a mouthguard can save you thousands of dollars in emergency and restorative dental treatment costs.
- More confidence during the game. The psychological benefits of full-mouth protection can help players who are overcautious or hesitant during a game.
- Protects or minimises damage to existing dental work (crowns, bridges) or fixtures (braces).
Choosing the right mouthguard
You have a choice of custom-made mouthguards
from your dentist or over-the-counter “boil and bite” mouthguards
, when it comes to buying a mouthguard. But not all mouthguards are created equal.
According to research by the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), the level of protection provided by a mouthguard bought from a sporting goods store or chemist was no match for a custom properly-fitted mouthguard made by a dentist.
The results of their study in 2014 showed that football players who wore over-the-counter mouthguards suffered more than twice the number of concussions compared to players wearing custom-made ones.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) also recommends the use of a custom-made mouthguard for all Australians participating in sports and activities that carry a high risk of oral injury.
TC Dental custom-made mouthguards
At TC Dental, we take the job of making your custom-made mouthguard very seriously. We ensure that each of our patients has a personal mouthguard that provides the highest degree of fit, protection and comfort.
When you come in to have your mouthguard made up, we take a dental impression of your teeth for starters. From this impression, a precise cast is made, which our on-site dental laboratory technician uses to design and create your own uniquely-fitted mouthguard. Your TC dentist also provides you with care advice and follow-up mouthguard assessments at your regular check-ups.
If you want to protect the teeth of you and your family with a custom-fitted mouthguard, call our friendly team at TC Dental on (07) 3349 9334
to schedule an appointment. We’ll have you playing safer in time for your next game.