Protect your teeth this New Year from sporting injuries

Posted by Ruth Morris on 17 December 2014

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Studies have shown that between 13% and 39% of all dental injuries are sports related.

Approximately 25% of children in the UK will injure or lose a front tooth at some stage.  Contact sports are increasingly popular which has resulted in a rise in traumatic dental injuries.  The risk of tooth damage is also increased in fast, physical sports or if moving objects are involved, such as bats and balls.

About 80% of all dental injuries affect at least one of the front teeth.  Damage to the tongue or cheek is common too.

This is why it is important for both adults and children who regularly participate in these sports to protect their teeth this New Year to avoid any potentially horrific sporting injuries, which could result in losing a tooth.

What is a gum shield and where do I get one?

You can purchase a gum shield from the internet, from a sports shop or from your local dentist.  It is much better to go to your dentist to have a custom made gum shield that the dentist can ensure fits correctly. Purchasing one from the internet or a sports shop might be cheaper but if it doesn’t fit correctly you won’t be protected as well from those sporting injuries which will cost you more in the long term if you get injured and then have to visit the dentist.

To avoid a New Year nightmare ask your dentist to tailor make you a gum shield to protect your teeth. Your dentist will make an accurate impression of your mouth to make the shield fit and protect your teeth and gums. Younger athletes may need to replace their gum shield more regularly as they are still growing and their shield may become too tight, if this is the case a new one can be made up.

Types of mouth guards

There are different types of mouth guards that can help to protect your teeth from dental sporting injuries. Your orthodontist will provide you with the appropriate mouth guard or advice on where to obtain the most suitable one for you:

Ortho-guard

Some companies make special, off the shelf ‘ortho-guard’ mouth guards for patients with braces which feature a channel or trough to accommodate the brace and allow for tooth movement.

‘Boil and bite’ mouth guards can be shaped to fit by softening in boiling water and then sucked to mould to the contours of the mouth. This means that as the teeth move, the mouth guard can be remoulded to adapt to the new shape of the mouth.

Custom-made mouth guards

Due to the movement of teeth during orthodontic treatment, a tailor-made mouth guard may need to be changed frequently.  This may not be a viable option for the orthodontic patient unless the fixed appliance has been fully fitted before the mouth guard is made. The Orthodontist should make the guard so it allows the teeth to move during treatment and must instruct the user on how to modify the mouth guard if it becomes too tight. If a great deal of tooth movement takes place, patients may require a new mouth guard.

At Brilliant Dental Care we’re pleased to offer mouth guards in a wide variety of colours, patterns and designs so you can express your individuality as well as protecting your teeth!  Custom-made mouth guards are normally available within 48 hours of ordering.

Some schools now require your child to have a gum shield as part of their PE kit.  If you would like more information about getting your son or daughter a custom made gum shield please don’t hesitate to call us on 01443 237 500 or pop in to the practice and book your complimentary consultation.