The Benefits of Professionally Fitted Mouth Guards
Children who play contact sports have a dramatically increased risk of damage to their teeth. Many rely on low-quality mouth guards that they find at the local supermarket or department store. While these offer a modest amount of protection, they fall short of the standards recommended by your family dental professionals. Your child will only have one set of permanent, natural teeth and it’s important to provide them with the maximum amount of protection whenever possible.
Overall Fit and Stability
An over-the-counter mouth guard is generally a “one-size fits all” type of product designed to protect your child’s teeth and prevent various injuries. To make this type of guard conform to your child’s mouth, you may have to cut the ends off or trim down the outer edges to reduce irritation to your child’s gums and soft tissues. This can cause the mouth guard to fit poorly and not remain in place when your child needs it most.
When you get a professionally fitted mouth guard from your family dentist, it is sized to fit your child’s mouth. There is no trimming or alterations needed and the guard will remain firmly in place at all times. This additional stability ensures that the guard will not shift or force the jaws to be out of alignment.
Higher Quality Materials
A mouth guard created at your dentist’s office will be made of the highest quality materials. It will be sturdier than a generic guard and will not experience wear and tear as easily as a softer guard made of more malleable plastic.
Depending on the type of dental issues your child has (if any), your dentist may opt for a hard rubber guard with a softer liner that cushions any blows that may strike the face. Firm guards that are slightly softer and more flexible can be used for less physical athletic activities, but will still provide the maximum amount of protection if the right materials are used to make them.
Types of Guards
There are several types of mouth guards that can be considered. The type of sport, degree of physical contact and your child’s dental needs will all play a role in the type of guard chosen and the materials used in its construction.
- A boxer, soccer or football player will need a guard that is firm, but soft enough to withstand constant jarring.
- A child who plays tennis or baseball may not experience the same type of physical impact of a one who plays a more intense sport. Their dental needs, however, may call for a guard that offers additional protection. This is especially true if they wear braces or other orthodontic devices.
Longer Lasting Protection
Guards that are produced from lower quality materials will begin to show signs of wear and tear after just a few uses. When the guard begins to wear, it can become loose, shifting each time the child reduces pressure or relaxes their bite. This will cause the guard to shift and can throw off the alignment of your child’s jaws if the guard is made of a firmer rubber.
A guard that is form fitted to your child’s teeth, will remain firmly in place whether your child has relaxed their bite or not. It’s molded to fit the form and contours of their mouth and will continue to grip consistently, providing long-lasting protection without disrupting how your mouth functions.
Making the Final Call
Your child’s physical growth may make it more affordable to use mouth guards from the store down the street, but the risk to your child’s teeth could lead to years of dental restoration and thousands of dollars of work to their mouth. It’s a fact that your child will outgrow several mouth guards before they eventually stop playing sports. While the changes may be small and not noticeable to you, their dentist can identify these changes and will be able to recommend when a new guard is needed.
They may need different types of guards if they play more than one sport, but in most cases, guards are interchangeable as long as they offer the level of protection required. Your dentist can provide the right type of guard at the right time, giving your child the protection they need that will prevent different types of damage to their teeth and gums.
The use of a dental-grade mouth guard affords your child the ultimate defense against injury to their teeth, gums and other soft structures in the mouth. The ultimate goal is to offer the maximum amount of protection with the greatest degree of comfort. This allows your child to enjoy the time they spend playing their favorite sport, while minimizing your concerns so you can be proud of their efforts.
Schedule Your Custom Mouth Guard Fitting Today
For over 30 years, Briglia Dental Group has been keeping generations of families in good dental health. With a firm philosophy of “dental work done right the first time” our practice proudly guides families in the right direction when it comes to dental health.
If you’d like to schedule an appointment for your own or your child’s custom mouth guard fitting, call Dr. Briglia’s office today at 610-692-4440. We’ll be happy to walk you and your child through the process of having a custom mouth guard made.