Sports are a great way to stay fit, and its benefits are as significant for the mind as they are for the body. However, sports are also the leading cause of dental avulsions: an injury that causes a tooth to break. 5 million teeth are broken due to injury every year, resulting in $500 million in dental bills each year. 40% of those dental injuries occur during athletic competitions!
The overwhelming majority of these injuries could have been easily prevented with the use of athletic mouthguards. You protect your head with a helmet, and your body with pads or other protective gear, so why not protect your teeth the same way?
If you’re an athlete (of any age) in the Plano, TX area, 1st in Smiles has you covered. We can provide you with the protection you need with a custom made mouthguard. A custom mouthguard is the best protection for your teeth. Unlike cheap store-bought mouthguards that are mass produced, custom mouthguards are comfortable to wear, and most importantly, they actually work.
Custom vs. Mass-Produced, or Cost vs. Value
Is a custom mouthguard worth the expense? We get this question often from our patients who are looking to play hard and play safe. It is true that when compared to store-bought mouthguards, custom mouthguards cost more, at least in the short term.
However, the cost of a broken tooth is much higher. Treating the initial injury is just the start of an endless line of dental procedures that in many cases will continue for the rest of your natural life. Restorations will need to be replaced and checked regularly, and a broken tooth is an open door for bacteria to cause serious problems with your oral and general health. If you have a serious tooth injury, it is all but certain that a root canal is in your future at the very least. As we’ve discussed previously, root canals are not the terrible experience that they’re cracked up to be, but you should still try to avoid them if you can!
A custom mouthguard is your best bet to prevent injury and a lifetime of involved and costly dental procedures. Because the mouthguard is custom made, it fits your teeth specifically. A good fit is extremely important; a mouthguard that slips and slides is uncomfortable, offers little to no protection, and can even cause injuries under certain circumstances. A custom mouthguard is made from premium, high-performance materials that are much better at protecting your teeth from impacts for a long time.
Make the investment now to avoid greater expense later!
What’s the Difference Between Custom and Store-bought Mouthguards?
Store-bought mouthguards usually fall into one of two categories: stock, and boil-and-bite. Both are seductively inexpensive (costing an average of $5 to $10 a piece), and neither offer anything close to sufficient protection of your teeth.
In this context, “stock” means the same thing as “mass-produced”. Though there may be superficial differences across brands, all stock mouthguards use the same design. A stock mouthguard is very similar to a dental tray which is used to make impressions of your teeth: it’s basically a small trough that is bent into an arch. Stock mouthguards are also usually made of very cheap plastic that doesn’t really inspire confidence in its ability to keep your teeth safe from, say, a flying elbow from a big center (dental avulsions are most common in basketball).
Not only is the material ineffective, but stock mouthguards offer next to no fit at all. Stock mouthguards tend to slip and slide in your mouth. This can cause you to gag, especially if you have a strong gag reflex, and because of all this movement they end up “protecting” very few of your teeth. Stock mouthguards hardly provide protection when they’re in your mouth, but they’re usually so uncomfortable that most people end up spitting it out after a short while.
A mouthguard that stays in the bottom of your gym bag is 0% effective at protecting your teeth from breakage and injury!
Boil-and-bite mouthguards are a tiny bit better than stock mouthguards, but when compared to a custom mouthguard, it’s no contest: a custom mouthguard is miles ahead of a boil-and-bite.
Boil-and-bite mouthguards have existed since the 1960’s, and like stock mouthguards, the design hasn’t changed much since then. If you haven’t used one before, this is usually how they work:
Drop the mouthguard into a pot of boiling water. The mouthguard is made of a plastic that becomes flexible when given enough heat; after a few minutes, you remove the mouthguard, let it cool, and then you place it in your mouth and bite (hence “boil-and-bite”). This creates an impression of your teeth to provide a good fit in the mouth. If you don’t get it right the first time, you can just drop the mouthguard in the boiling water until you get it to “feel right” (which is not necessarily the same thing as a good fit).
Boil-and-bite create the illusion of customization because they conform to the shape of your teeth (or at least they’re meant to). However, any fit is quickly lost over the course of normal wear, and the material is notoriously weak. It’s not uncommon to see boil-and-bite mouthguards full of bite marks and holes, especially those that have been used by children: for some reason, kids love to chew boil-and-bite mouthguards to pieces.
Once again, a mouthguard that falls apart quickly or loses its fit (or didn’t have a good fit in the first place) offers you virtually no protection from injury!
A custom mouthguard is made with durable, tear and bite resistant materials; you can’t chew through it, and the material can withstand even the most dramatic of hits. To make your mouthguard, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth, and the mouthguard is formed from material that is placed over the impression, creating a permanent mirror-image of your teeth. Your teeth will fit the mouthguard exactly and it won’t slip out of place.
Love Sports? Protect Your Teeth!
It really is a matter of choosing between saving a little on a mouthguard now or potentially spending a lot on dental procedures that you will need for the rest of your life to protect your broken tooth and keep yourself free of the oral health problems that can result.
Make the right choice! Get your custom mouthguard by calling us at 1st in Smiles. Dial 972-905-9266.