As a family practice, at Expressions Dental™ we more than often come across many patients who live active lifestyles and participate in different types of sports. Our job as dental health professionals is to make sure your mouth is safe at all times during any contact sports or activities of the same sort. Sport guards have become increasingly popular among young adults and teens that play sports. Some sports and coaches have already made sport guards mandatory to protect their players. If you engage in any contact sports (males and females) such as hockey, football, basketball, boxing or soccer you should be wearing a sports guard to prevent injury to your teeth and oral cavity. There are a few different types of sport guards available on the market which range in fit and durability.
These sports guards are best for activities you will only engage in for one day or a few hours, short term use is recommended. These sport guards are made of weak plastic and can be available at your local drug stores or grocery stores. These sport guards typically are made in only one size and “one size fits all”. These sport guards do not fit everyone as everyone has a different mouth, and to involve in contact sports with a loose or ill-fitted sports guard is highly dangerous for anyone to risk.
Boil and bite sport guards are manufactured with the same plastic as stock sport guards but the difference, is you are able to change the shape a little of the sport guard with the boil and bite technique. The sport guard is boiled for about 30 seconds in order for the material to soften and before the material has completely cooled down you insert the sport guard into your mouth and bite naturally. These sport guards may become loose to your teeth over time and may need to be replaced due to wear. This type of sport guard is able to mold slightly, making small adjustments to shape around your teeth.
Custom made sport guards are generally done in the dentist office and takes a few days to complete. The initial visit for a sport guard is to have us take molds of your teeth. These molds are precise and show us the true shape to every single one of your teeth. These molds are then sent off to the lab in which lab technicians use dental grade materials to create your sports guard. These custom made sport guards are truly custom made to your mouth taking into consideration not only your teeth but surrounding gums and the shape of your mouth. Once your custom made sports guard has been made, you simply come in to the office and try it in, after that your brand new custom sport guard is ready to wear for any sport. Sport guards made with materials that do not need to be replaced often and provide more protection than non-custom sport guards available.
A harsh reality we do witness on a regular basis is that many players still have not realized the severity of not wearing a sports guard while playing and as a result, injury does occur. In any sport, it is crucial to protect yourself as much as you can.
Teeth may chip partially or break this is more commonly seen in front teeth and is very easy to occur. Incidences like this can occur during an innocent game of street hockey in which hockey equipment or sport guard is usually not worn. Teeth that have been chipped up to a certain extent can be repaired by the dentist however, nothing is as natural looking as a real teeth.
Teeth that have been broken due to sports may not always be repairable. If the tooth has only broken a small portion, there is a chance for restoration. If the tooth has for example, broken at the gum line, in which that case only the root of the tooth would be remaining, that tooth can no longer be saved and replacement with implant or bridge is highly recommended.
Avulsed tooth is when the tooth has fully come out of its socket as a whole tooth, unbroken. This also is most common in front teeth. It is possible in some sports that if the player was hit with enough force around the oral cavity, this could result in teeth being knocked right out causing damage to surrounding nerves and tissue. Often, these nerves and tissues do not recover from injury and may affect restorability of that tooth. Sometimes the tooth is able to reattach itself back into the socket. If the tooth is unable to reattach itself, one option is splinting or placing a wire on the backside of your teeth to help hold the teeth together. If you ever find yourself in this situation go see a dentist immediately, in the meantime you can help save your tooth by placing it in milk or in your mouth in between your gums and cheek as the tooth will have better chance of survival in a natural environment. Every case is different and may require different treatment depending on severity of your case.
These are just a few simply described injuries that can occur during contact sports. Much more serious injuries like jaw fractures are always possible, which is why prevention for these types of accidents is key. At Expressions Dental™ we are glad to help you or someone you know prevent oral injuries from occurring by coming in and talking to one of our dentists about your sport guard options.