Athletic Mouth Guards: Fast Facts

Dr. Kyle Hornby

If you play sports or weight train, you should ask your Kitchener Dentist about getting a custom mouth guard. Athletes can be hit in the mouth or clench their teeth together when absorbing impact. Similarly, people clench during weight training or may sustain impact to their teeth if a weight or bar falls on them accidentally. Both activities can result in broken teeth that require costly dental treatment.

What can happen if I don't wear a Mouth Guard?

The type of injury you sustain to your teeth and gums depends on the amount of impact you absorb. In some cases, one or more teeth may become loose after impact. Other times, you may sustain a small enamel chip or a large fracture. I have seen competitive weightlifters clench and split a tooth in half. So, bad things can happen.

Here's a summary of possible dental injuries that can result from sports accidents:

  1. Loose Teeth. Your Kitchener Dentist will need to splint or attach your teeth together to help them heal. Healing can take between 2-8 weeks. Sometimes these teeth become discoloured or they can develop dental infections requiring root canal treatment. In some cases, a tooth remain loose and never fully heal. In these instances, your Dentist will recommend tooth extraction.
  2. Avulsed Teeth. Avulsion is the dental term for the complete loss of a tooth due to impact. Most of us have seen a movie depicting an athlete getting hit followed by them spitting out a tooth. This is tooth avulsion. When it happens, you need to act quickly in getting to your Kitchener Family Dentist. If they are able to clean both tooth and socket, they can sometimes replant the tooth and achieve full healing. Healing depends on gums and bone reattaching to your tooth. Unfortunately, if this doesn't happen, you'll lose your tooth. Tooth loss gives rise to the need for costly tooth replacement treatments like a denture, dental bridge or implant.
  3. Broken Teeth. Sometimes heavy impact during sports can cause your tooth to break. A Dentist can smooth off a small chip or repair it with dental bonding. Larger breaks may require a dental filling, or in some cases a dental crown to prevent another break in future.

A Helpful Perspective on Dental Accidents

While it's certainly possible for your Kitchener-Waterloo Dentist to repair your broken tooth after a sports accident, you want to avoid having this done at all costs. No repair solution is as good as your natural tooth. All repairs involve materials that don't behave like your natural enamel and dentin. For instance, patients who whiten their teeth quickly find out that their dental filling, veneer or dental crown won't change shade the way a natural tooth will. Additionally, reparative treatments often need replacement after a certain amount of time.

Your natural teeth won't need treatment, maintenance or replacement if you treat them right. A custom athletic night guard helps toward keeping your teeth problem-free!

Where can you buy a custom Mouth Guard?

You can buy a generic athletic mouth guard at any Shopper's Drug Mart or Walmart. Generally, a custom-fit mouth guard will perform better and keep your teeth safer. Ask your Kitchener Family Dentist about having a custom mouth guard made.

How much does a Mouth Guard cost?

A custom mouth guard will cost between $100 - $200. Store-bought varieties tend to cost about $30 - $50. Some dental insurance policies will cover this expense. Ask your Family Dentist to send a pre-determination or estimate to your plan provider.

What are the steps for making my custom Mouth Guard?

Your Kitchener Family Dentist can make your custom mouth guard quickly and easily. Your first appointment will last about 5-10 minutes to enable impression taking. Your Dentist will then use these impressions to make a custom fitting mouth guard. This takes about 3-5 days.

You then return to your Family Dental Office to try in the mouth guard and ensure proper fitting. Done. Two total appointments and about 15 minutes of chair time. It doesn't get much simpler than that!

How An Athletic Mouth Guard Protects Your Teeth (and Gums)

Your mouth guard will be made from a soft and comfortable acrylic. A mouth guard typically fits over your upper teeth (your upper front teeth are most likely to be hit during a sports accident). If you clench together quickly during sports or weight training, your mouth guard will cushion your teeth. If you sustain a direct blow to the mouth or teeth (like from a puck or softball), your teeth will be protected.

A mouth guard can also help to protect your gums and other soft tissues from heavy impact.

Summary

Sports accidents can cause damage to your teeth. This damage can mean you'll need costly repairs that may need to be replaced as you age. There is no replacement for a natural tooth in terms of longevity and function. Luckily, you can avoid costly dental work by wearing a custom athletic mouth guard when you play sports or engage in weight training. Mouth Guards are inexpensive, and it takes very little time to have your Dentist make one for you!

Consider a custom mouth guard as an insurance policy on your wonderful smile.

Thanks for reading today. The article was meant to provide a basic understanding of the benefits of mouth guards. Ask your Kitchener-Waterloo Dentist for more information to determine if a custom guard will be right for you!

By Dr. Kyle Hornby, Dentist in Kitchener

Our Kitchener Dental Office is conveniently located in Downtown Kitchener and we are a short drive away for families in Waterloo, Breslau & St. Jacobs. Our central location means we truly offer family dentistry near you!

This article is meant to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Dentist or other healthcare providers regarding a dental condition or treatment.

Enjoy a fresh start.
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