The use of mouth guards in sport

Prevention of dental trauma and other sporting injuries has become an even more important issue due to an increased popularity of contact and non-contact sport and combined with children participating in sport at a young age. Dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial injury sustained during the participation in sport.

One of the most cost-effective ways of protecting the teeth is to wear a custom fitted mouthguard.

It is widely thought that the use of mouthguards does provide protection against oral trauma.

At Castlegate Family Dental Care we encourage their use at all levels of sport.

Currently, there are three types of mouthguards available:

  1. Stock (Type I)
  2. Boil and Bite (Type II)
  3. Custom-made (Type III)

Stock mouthguards

Stock mouthguards are available from Pharmacies and Sport Stores. They are a bulky gutter of rigid plastic available in various sizes; some designs are cut in order to allow them to fit. They have a loose fit and rely upon a constant biting force to hold them in position. They interfere with speech and breathing and are a potential airway hazard.These mouthguards only offer no more than a false sense of security.

Stock mouthguard

Stock mouthguard

Boil and Bite mouthguards

Boil and Bite mouthguards are also available at pharmacies and Sport Stores. They are made of a thermoplastic material which when heated in hot water are moulded to the athletes mouth. Due to their low temperature of formation they continue to deform so their fit becomes loose over time.

Therefore, the protection offered is rather limited.

There is some merit in this type being used as a “Back-Up” mouthguard, given that many sporting codes at all levels of competition have a “No guard, no play” policy.

Boil and bite mouthguard

Boil and bite mouthguard

Custom-constructed mouthguards

Custom-constructed mouthguards offers the athlete the greatest form of protection. They are made of a thermoplastic material that is vacuum and heat formed over a model of the athlete’s teeth. It has been shown in laboratory tests that they offer a greater level of protection than boil and bite mouthguards.

This is the only form of mouthguard we recommend and supply to our patients.

Following the taking of a dental mold they are manufactured in Perth laboratory with great attention to making sure they offer the best protection.

The design and colour choices of these guards can be made appealing to all age and competition groups. This should encourage athletes to wear their guards during practice as well as competition.

Custom fabricated mouthguard

Custom fabricated mouthguard

A single laminated mouthguard.

A single laminated mouthguard. Note thinning of the material on the edge of the tooth where risk of damage is greatest.

A second laminate is added to increase protection

A second laminate is added, therefore increasing protection to the upper teeth and providing an increased thickness.

A well-designed and manufactured mouthguard

A well-designed and manufactured mouthguard