It is that time of the year again when winter sports often brings up the question of mouthguards. Rugby, basketball, hockey, AFL, snow boarding, skiing and league are all high contact sports and teeth, jaw and joint injuries are common. Even baseball and softball have their share of injuries.
There are 3 types of mouthguards
1. Stock mouthguards. Ready to use, come indifferent sizes. Please avoid at all costs., they provide minimum protection, a false sense of security and risk of inhalation.
2. Boil and bite mouthguards. Usually have a poor fit and are thinnest in the area where most protection is required.
3. Custom formed. Made in a lab with an impression taken by a dentist. It is vacuum pulled down onto the model of the teeth
How does a mouthguard work?
The mouthguard works by absorbing and redistributing forces that are applied to the teeth and jaws. It can only do this if it is intimately adapted to the teeth and upper jaw bone, is of adequate thickness and is composed of layers of rigid and compliant(elastic) materials . Custom mouthguards are the only mouthguard which goes close to fulfilling these criteria.
The protection any mouthguard gives in relation to concussion is controversial and probably limited. If of sufficient thickness it can prevent the impact of the lower jaw up into the upper teeth
People pay extraordinary amounts of money for other sporting gear but neglect their teeth which cannot heal themselves. Our bones and soft tissue is able to mend. The kind of injuries sustained are life long and can require a life time of maintenance and input of money.
It would be a good idea to introduce a universal grading system for mouthguards so people can assess what they are paying for.
If you have any further qustions contact me on facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org