For many sports, especially those that are high-contact, mouthguards are either required or recommended. But getting one from the drugstore isn’t the best choice. Drs. Randall and Melissa Stewart of Stewart Dental Group, a dentist in Charlotte, NC, go over the benefits of getting a custom mouthguard instead.
Not One Size Fits All
One of the biggest issues with over-the-counter mouthguards, also called boil and bite mouthguards, is that they’re marketed to be one size fits all. Heat is used to mold the mouthguard to your teeth. But, particularly for children, they’re usually too big and bulky. You have to constantly keep your teeth clenched for them to stay in.
When your teeth are constantly clenched, it makes it difficult to communicate with your teammates on the field. This can cause problems with playing the game to the best of the team’s ability. It also can cause a hindrance to taking quick water breaks because you have to take the mouthguard out to get a drink.
Avoiding Oral Health Problems
Having one of these boil and bite mouthguards can actually cause you to develop conditions that compromise your oral health. When you’re constantly clenching your teeth, that puts tension on the jaw joint and the muscles surrounding it. This can be a cause of TMJ disorders.
TMJ disorders are when your jaw joint doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. There’s a lot of strain on the joint and surrounding muscles. You may have issues opening and closing your mouth, or you hear popping and clicking when you’re using it. It can also cause pain and tension that radiates throughout your face and even down into your neck and shoulders.
Without a mouthguard, you also run the risk of chipping, breaking, or knocking out teeth. Contact sports like football can cause your teeth to come together harshly following a hit. Sports like soccer also have the risk of a ball coming at the face, knocking out or damaging a tooth. This can land you in our office following a dental emergency.
Preventing Further Injury
Having a protective mouthguard can also help reduce the chances of you getting a concussion or other injury. Having your teeth come together harshly can be a factor in head injury. Over the counter mouthguards aren’t as protective, particularly with the risk of them falling out.
The Custom Mouthguard Process
To get a custom mouthguard, molds are taken of your teeth to make sure that the mouthguard is made to perfectly fit your mouth. It should be able to be worn so that your teeth don’t have to be clenched to keep it in. You should be able to speak freely with it, as well as get a quick drink of water. We’ll make sure it fits properly and needs no adjustments before you leave with the final product.
Your Dentist in Charlotte, North Carolina
Make sure you have a reliable mouthguard when you need it. Call us or schedule an appointment online.