Did you know that a tooth knocked out due to a sports injury could cost as much as $15,000 over the course of an athlete’s lifetime? When you think about it that way, the added cost of a custom mouthguard seems like a great value! The dentists at A New Smile Dental Group discuss options for protecting athletes’ teeth from sports-related injuries.
Good: Stock Mouthguards
Stock mouthguards are the most affordable option, with most ranging between $3 and $20, but they’re also the least effective way to safeguard teeth and gums from traumatic injuries. Most are one-size-fits-all, or are broadly categorized as Small, Medium, or Large, which can be uncomfortable and can interfere with speech and breathing. For these reasons, children are less likely to wear a stock mouthguard at all times as recommended. So while this option is better than forgoing protection altogether, it offers only minimal protection.
Better: Boil and Bite Mouthguards
Boil and bite mouthguards are the most commonly used type of mouthguard and are available at most sporting goods stores. They are slightly more expensive than stock options, but they are also more comfortable and generally fit better. However, a common complaint with this type of mouthpiece is that it does not always cover the teeth located near the back of the mouth; this is especially true for teen and adult athletes. Others complain that the bulkiness of boil and bite mouthguards makes speech difficult, or that wearing one triggers a sensitive gag reflex.
Best: Custom Mouthguards
A custom mouthguard from your dentist is ideal for several reasons. Foremost, its tailored fit covers all vulnerable parts of the teeth and gums, protecting the tongue and inside of the lips and cheeks. With no excess material in the way, athletes are less likely to experience discomfort, difficulty breathing, or problems speaking clearly during wear. Unlike other options, a custom mouthpiece takes into account the unique oral health and development of the wearer. For example, have all permanent teeth erupted? If not, the mouthguard can be adjusted accordingly. What about lost teeth, cavities, or other types of dental restorations?