The best mouth guard for your mouth is the one that best protects you from injury while training for or playing your favourite sports. The way a mouth guard fits you and its construction will determine how well it is able to protect you. A well fitting mouth guard, such as a custom fitted, laminated (multi-layered) mouth guard provides the best protection available from sports injury.
The majority of sporting organisations currently require sports participants to wear a mouth guard. Wearing a custom-fitted laminated mouthguard reduces the degree of force transmitted to the head if traumatic contacts occur - to minimise potential injury risks to the teeth, face and jaws.
At Melbourne Dentistry, we recommend:
A custom fitted, pressure-thermoformed laminated mouth guard be worn in preference to an over-the-counter or boil and bite mouth guard during both training, and playing sport.
A mouth guard should be worn for any sport that involves speed and the potential for collisions, with a risk of contact injury to the head and face.
A mouth guard should be worn during:
Lacrosse and Hurling
Field Hockey and Ice Hockey
Mixed Martial Arts
Boxing and Kickboxing
Rollerblading, Skating and Skateboarding
Track and Field
Benefits of a Custom Fitted Mouth Guard
When worn during training or playing sport, a custom fitted laminated mouth guard will:
considerably reduce the risks of injury to your upper front teeth;
reduce the risks of damage to your upper or lower back teeth, after a traumatic closure of the lower jaw (i.e. your opposing teeth will be protected from traumatic contacts against each other);
considerably reduce your risk of mouth and lip lacerations;
reduce the risk of damage to your tongue at impact;
reduce the risk of fractures of your lower jaw (body of the mandible) and of your mandibular condyles (sub-condylar fractures);
reduce the risk of damage to your TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint);
if worn over orthodontics, a mouth guard will reduce the risk of penetrating injuries to you, or other players, from the brackets and wiring in your orthodontic treatment.
Mouth Guards and Concussion Prevention
Currently, there is no evidence to support the role of custom fitted mouth guards in the prevention of concussion injuries. Custom fitted mouth guards can only be relied upon to afford protection against orofacial injuries.
Features of Custom Fitted Mouth Guards
A Tailored, Retentive Fit with Appropriate Jaw Coverage
A custom fitted mouth guard is tailored to your mouth and made appropriate for your particular sporting activity. It is fabricated by being adapted to a stone cast from an impression of your mouth. This allows the mouth guard to cover both the teeth in your upper arch and the surrounding tissues. It can then provide maximum retention and resistance to dislodgement.
Being more snug, and secure to wear, a custom fitted mouth guard will stay in place to protect you. Unlike an over the counter mouth guard, it does not require you to actively keep your teeth clenched for it to remain in place. A custom made mouth guard will stay in place with no effort, so you can focus on your game.
Includes your 'Bite Signature'
The individualised construction of a custom made mouth guard enables your unique 'bite signature' (an imprint of your opposing teeth) to be incorporated into the mouth guard surface, when an impression of your lower teeth is also taken. Not all custom made mouth guards are made with this feature. The inclusion of the reciprocal indentations lower teeth can fit into, permits a seated and equilibrated occlusion. This creates a balanced platform for an even contact in your bite, greater stability and ideal absorption of impact energy.
Has a Multi - Layered, High Quality Construction
Custom fitted mouth guards, made from multiple layers of biocompatible EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) material, fused together with pressure and heat, are significantly better at absorbing impact energy. They offer better protection to oral structures than mouth guards (custom or over-the-counter) made from a single layer of this material, or, more ridge materials.
The elasticity (deformation and recovery) of a mouth guard's material will determines its energy absorption. The greater the elasticity of the material, the greater its capacity for absorbing, distributing and dissipating impact energy. When a mouth guard is made from multiple layers of appropriate material, the laminated material returns or rebounds more slowly, reducing the harmful effects of rebound energy following impact.
Ridge inserts in mouth guards should be avoided as they reduce the energy absorption properties of a mouth guard. This is because these inserts will concentrate (rather than spread) impact energy at the point of traumatic contact.
Advantages of Custom Fitted Mouth Guards
A custom fitted mouth guard is checked for fit and function when issued to you at your dental visit. It will be more comfortable and easier to wear, hence, you will be more likely to wear it.
Custom fitted mouth guards will prevent and minimize damage to your teeth and jaws without compromising or restricting your speech, ability to breathe or sporting performance. They can be made for any age, sport, level of competition, past injury history or to protect orthodontic treatment and have negligible deformation when worn over time.
An over-the-counter mouth guard, unfortunately, does not fit as well as a custom fitted mouthguard, cannot absorb shock sufficiently, and will not protect you or your child adequately.
PLAYSAFE® Mouth Guards
At Melbourne Dentistry, we recommend PLAYSAFE® mouth guards. A PLAYSAFE® mouth guard provides 12 times more protection than a standard boil and bite mouth guard. This type of mouth guard consists of 3 full layers of protective material, in 4 different mouth guard types and is specifically prescribed for your needs.
Using high quality, German made Erkodent® biocompatible thermoforming materials, PLAYSAFE® mouth guards are ISO Certified for safety and BPA free. Our PLAYSAFE® mouth guards are made with an imprint of your opposing bite and thus incorporate a surrounding 'buccal shield', a protective border to prevent excessive movements of the lower jaw in lateral (side) impacts.
Custom Fitted PLAYSAFE® Mouth Guards
PLAYSAFE® mouth guards are the only custom made and fitted mouth guard recommended by Australia’s peak sporting body,Sports Medicine Australia. Independently tested and assessed by Universities, PLAYSAFE® mouth guards are relied upon by elite athletes worldwide for their proven state of the art protection in reducing the risk of injury, while providing the comfort for athletes to perform confidently at their best.
We always take both an upper and lower impression of your teeth and jaw contours and record your bite signature for the construction of our PLAYSAFE® mouth guards. This is to ensure your mouth guard is the most comfortable, protective and stable mouth guard we are able to provide. On issuing you your mouth guard, Dr Maria will check the fit of your the guard and provide you with care and maintenance advice to ensure the optimum performance and longevity of your appliance.
PLAYSAFE® mouth guards are made for our practice by Prostec Laboratories located in Wembley, Western Australia. We only use Prostec Laboratories to ensure the provision of authentic PLAYSAFE® mouth guards for all our patients. PLAYSAFE® mouth guards can be constructed for you within 3 to 4 working days.
Costs Of A Mouth Guard
The annual costs for the preventive value of your custom fitted mouth guard are minimal, especially when compared to the potential financial, physiological and psychological costs associated with dental and facial injuries. Cut lips, damaged and dislodged teeth, dislocated and broken jaws may require expensive and life longdental procedures (such as root canal treatments, crowns or surgery for dental implants to reconstruct your smile to what it once was). The results of dental trauma can affect your self-esteem, and your smile confidence.
Don't risk your teeth, or your child’s teeth with inferior quality products. As children’s jaws grow, and primary teeth are being lost, it may be necessary to replace a custom fitted mouth guard each season, until the adult teeth are in place and the growth spurt slows.
When you consider the investments made for other pieces of sporting equipment, such as sneakers, bats or helmets and fees for training sessions - a comparable cost invested in a high quality mouth guard, to protect your teeth and face it is not excessive.