It’s well documented that children who take part in lots of sporting activities gain numerous benefits, both psychologically and physically. A child participating in team sports learns about the importance of working with others, and about winning and losing. These activities can be great for building self-esteem and self-confidence, not to mention ensuring they grow up healthy and strong. However sports activities aren’t without risks, and there’s always the possibility of injuries to teeth, gums and jaws.
It’s estimated around a quarter of all dental injuries in children are sports related, and most will involve the top front teeth. Treating these injuries can involve a substantial amount of time off school, and restorative work will need to be replaced periodically throughout their lifetime. This means the costs can add up into thousands of dollars, especially if teeth are knocked out completely.
One simple way to help protect your child against such injuries is to make sure they have a properly fitting mouthguard. At the moment mouthguards are only required for cartain team sports such as football, ice and field hockey and lacrosse. However non-contact sports can just as easily result in injuries and the American Dental Association recommends children have a well-fitting mouthguard for other activities which include soccer, cycling, volleyball and skateboarding. So how much protections can a mouthguard offer? It’s estimated children who don’t wear mouthguards are up to 60 times more likely to have some sort of dental injury compared to those who do.
Which Type of Mouthguard Is Best?
The best kind of mouthguard to purchase is one that will actually be worn. There are several types of mouthguards that can be bought, including ready-made or off-the-shelf mouthguards, so-called “boil and bite” mouthguards, and custom-made mouthguards.
The first two types are pretty cheap, but it’s important to recognize they offer limited protection and are likely to be quite uncomfortable to wear. They can cause difficulties in breathing and speaking and may not fully cover all the teeth. Even though a mouthguard provided by your pediatric dentist is likely to cost a little more, it provides maximum protection and is much more comfortable to wear. Custom-made sports mouthguards are made from high quality materials that are tough and resilient, and when you consider the types of injuries that can be avoided then it makes perfect sense to invest in this dental appliance.
What Is the Process for Making a Custom-Made Mouthguard?
The process is extremely straightforward. Your pediatric dentist will take an impression of your child’s teeth which is then sent to the laboratory so the mouthguard can be fabricated. The actual design and construction of the mouthguard will depend on the type of sports your child likes to play. It will be custom designed to offer maximum protection and should be comfortable and well-fitting. It’s important to remember to bring the mouthguard with you to every appointment, as our dentist will want to check it’s still fitting properly and is free from damage that could make it less effective.