Sports and Dentistry
We love sports; we love children and adults running, playing and being part of a team. We also know that sports-related mouth injuries are significant, but there are steps that you can take to play the game and protect your smile. At Palo Alto Oral Health, our office is proud to be Dental Consultants for Stanford Team Sports. We can provide you with the information you need to protect your teeth and avoid painful or costly repair.
Sports and Teeth
There are some sports where wearing a protective mouthpiece is obvious and required. There are other sports that there is no requirement, but with all outdoor activities, it is advised to take measures to protect your teeth. On average, there are more than 5 million teeth knocked out, or avulsed, each year due to a sporting activity. Even more common than lost teeth, are orofacial injuries including gashes and bruising. Additionally, patients can experience a force to their jaw joint, causing a misalignment of the joint, which effects may not be immediately seen, but can be very problematic in the long term. We recommend a sports mouthguard for every person engaging in any form of sporting activity, from rock climbing to biking, team sport and more.
A mouthguard is a plastic device that you wear over your teeth. It is designed to protect the teeth, while also reducing the impact of a fall or hit. Mouthguards have been found to protect the teeth, the oral soft tissue and even absorb the impact of reducing some concussion.
Sportguards, or mouthguards, come in a few variations:
Store Bought: Every sporting goods store will carry mouthguards. The standard mouthguard is a plastic mold that comes in a one size fits all design. This will provide function, but is often bulky and does not fit well. Because of the poor fit, people often do not wear them for long and frequently stop wearing them altogether. Boil and bite mouthguards can also be bought at sporting goods stores. This mouthguard is customizable; you place it in boiling water, remove it, allow it to cool a bit and then bite down forming it to your mouth. The downside is, your mouth is only able to generate 7–9 pounds per square inch of pressure. This means that the boil and bite mouthguards are limitedly customized to fit your mouth and unique structure.
Dentist Customized: A dentist customized mouthguard can provide you greater protection both in its structure and design. Dentist customized mouthguards are made over a stone model, allowing them to be pressed at 120 pounds per square inch, as per the Academy for Sports Dentistry recommendation. This means that they are perfectly designed to fit in your mouth. This perfect fit will provide you with more protection, while also being comfortable enough to want to continue to wear it. If it’s comfortable, you are more likely to wear it, meaning it can do its job. Protecting your teeth can save you time and money, helping you stay in the game!