Mouthguards are a rubber-like, specially moulded cover which fits over your natural teeth to protect them from impact damage. Many sports carry the risk of damaging your teeth so wearing a mouthguard for sports such as hockey, boxing, football and rugby is a sensible pre-caution. They not only protect against broken teeth but concussion and brain damage too.
As a keen sports player myself during college and university, I’ve seen at first hand the effect of not wearing mouth protection can have. I won’t go into the gory detail, but one particular incident involving a hockey ball and team mate ended up with tears, lots of blood and an emergency dental visit! Whenever I’m discussing mouthguards with clients, this story always springs to my mind.
Dentists often provide the option of making a mouthguard to exactly fit your set of teeth. Every mouth is different so having a mouthguard tailored for your set of teeth will provide the best option in terms of fit.
The cost of mouthguards can vary and at the current time, they are not available on the National Health Service (NHS). The best option is to shop around and ask for estimates for having a mouthguard made. Investing in a mouthguard is small compared to the consequences of not wearing one for protection, which could mean a bill for thousands of pound in remedial work to repair broken teeth.
The lifespan of a mouthguard can vary depending on your age. If you’re still growing and developing, your mouth and layout of your teeth will change meaning your mouthguard may become too loose or too tight, in either case, a new mouthguard will be needed. For adults, it’s unlikely a mouthguard will need to be replaced as often for children, but with wear and tear, your mouthguard will eventually need to be replaced. On average though, you can expect several years of use from a mouthguard. When you have a checkup at the dentist, it’s worth taking your mouthguard with you so it can be checked to make sure it still fits your mouth properly.
We’re often asked if do-it-yourself home kits can be used to make a mouthguard. Although such home kits are available and are cheaper, you really get what you pay for. The material used tends to be thicker and uncomfortable to wear than having a dentist make one for you. A poorly fitting mouthguard presents a choking risk, especially for children so bear this in mind. Mouthguards made at a dental surgery will use the thinnest material possible and will fit much better than mouthguards made with a home kit.
If you’re fashion conscious and like to make a statement, then mouthguards can be made in any colour you like. Whether it’s the colours of your favourite sports team or your own team strip then it’s entirely up to you.