WHAT IS A SPORTS GUARD?

A sport guard is a specific type of mouth guard that covers your teeth, usually covering the upper teeth but occasionally the lower.  The guard is made to protect your teeth, and is useful for athletes and those who engage in contact sports (i.e. basketball, football, ice hockey, wrestling, gymnastics, boxing, and lacrosse).  Even those who engage in recreational activities may benefit from a protective mouth guard (i.e. mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding).

A good mouth guard is comfortable, durable, smooth, cleanable, and most of all, envelope your teeth in a protective soft shell to protect your teeth.

WHY USE A SPORTS GUARD?

The main advantage of using a mouth guard during sports and recreational activities is that it protects your teeth from accidental blunt dental trauma (ie. broken teeth, chipped fillings).  It also helps lowers the risk of injuries to your tongue, cheeks, lips, and other soft tissues.  Since accidents are unfortunately unpredictable, a sports guard serves as a protective preventive measure to reduce impact force.

HOW DO I GET A SPORTS GUARD MADE?

There are 3 types of sports guards:

  1. Premade stock protectors – These are already preformed and made. Inexpensive to purchase, they can be found at most sporting good stores.  They are not easy to adjust and in reality offer very little protection due to the material.
  2. “Boil and fit” guards – Often made from a soft thermoplastic material, one places the material in hot boiling water to soften it.  It is then placed in the mouth and shaped via the fingers to mold it around the teeth while it cools.  One can also find this guard in most sporting good stores or pharmacies.
  3. Custom made protectors – Your dentist will custom and individually design this sport guard.  Your dentist and dental assistant will take an initial impression (mold) of your teeth; the impression is then sent to a laboratory where a custom guard is made.  This method ensures a proper uniform and retentive fit.

WHAT IS THE CARE FOR A SPORTS GUARD?

With proper care, a sports guard should serve you well:

  • While you are brushing your teeth via toothbrush and toothpaste, brush the inner and outer surfaces of the guard as well; rinse and let air dry afterwards.
  • When not using the mouth guard, place in a solid and perforated container. This permits the guard to receive plenty of circulation and prevent damage.
  • Do not expose the mouth guard to extreme hot or cold temperatures; this may cause the material to distort and lose its “memory” shape.
  • Have the mouth guard examined by your dentist when you go in for your regular checkup and dental cleaning.

If you have any questions regarding athletic sports mouth guards for your Bellevue dentist or hygienist, contact us at (425) 614-1600.

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