Dental injuries are the most common type or orofacial injury sustained during participation in sports. Victims of total tooth avulsions who do not have teeth properly preserved or replanted may face lifetime dental costs of $10,000 – $15,000 per tooth, hours in the dentist’s chair, and the possible development of other dental problems. It is estimated by the American Dental Association that mouthguards prevent approximately 200,000 injuries each year in high school and collegiate football alone. According to the ADA, a properly fitted mouthguard is the most important piece of athletic equipment.
The most effective mouthguard should be resilient, tear-resistant and comfortable? It should have excellent retention, fit and sufficient thickness in critical areas. It must be durable and easy to clean, and not restrict your speech or breathing. Generally, a mouthguard covers only the upper teeth, but in some cases the dentist will recommend a mouthguard for the lower teeth as well. There are a few types of mouthguards; stock mouthguards, boil-and-bite mouthguards, and custom-fitted mouthguards made by a dentist. Although, a custom mouthguard is considered to be the most protective option since it fulfills all the criteria for adaptation, retention, comfort, and stability of material.
A nightguard, is a removable oral appliance which covers your top teeth and creates a barrier between your top and bottom jaws. There are several types of night guards; stock night guards, boil-and-bite night guards, and custom nightguards. Nightguards that are custom made by a dentist, tend to be the most effective since they are designed to match your specific tooth and oral anatomy. Nightguards are recommended for patients who suffer from bruxism or teeth grinding, or clenching. Teeth grinding can lead to a number of dental issues such as premature wear and tear, enamel erosion, chips, fractures, and TMJ disorders. Patients who clench while sleeping may experience chronic headache, jaw pain, ear pain, hot and cold sensitivity, and pain when biting. Placing a barrier between your upper and lower teeth through the use of a night guard can help alleviate some of the pressure caused by teeth grinding.