Dental Sports Guard
Sports guards play a very important role in the prevention of trauma to the oral cavity from contact sports such as rugby, hockey, martial arts, boxing and basketball.
What is a sports guard?
It is a flexible appliance made out of acrylic and is most often worn over the upper teeth during sports activities to protect the teeth and surrounding soft tissues from trauma.
At Richmond Road Dental Practice we pride ourselves in providing the best oral protection sports guards made with custom impressions taken in house by our trained professionals. We also prefer to fit the sports guards (rather than let our patients receive them by post) once returned from the laboratory, in order to check the fit and comfort and make any custom adjustments.
Are all sports guards the same?
Not all sports guards offer the same grade of protection and comfort. Most over the counter “boil and bite” sports guards are uncomfortable making retention, breathing and speaking difficult, with the result people often choose not to wear a sports guard at all.
Newer technologies are emerging allowing manufacturers to provide the same level of protection from thinner layers of material which in turn increases patient comfort. At Richmond Road Dental Practice we provide sports guards from “Opro”, the leading worldwide brand in this industry.
Do sports guards prevent injuries?
A sports guard can prevent serious injuries such as concussions, incidents of unconsciousness, jaw fractures and neck injuries by helping to avoid situations where the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw. Sports guards are effective in moving soft tissue in the oral cavity away from the teeth, preventing laceration and bruising of the lips and cheeks.
In what sports should I wear a sports guard?
Anytime there is a strong chance of contact with other participants or any hard surface, it is advisable to wear a sports guard. Players who participate in basketball, football, rugby, hockey, boxing and martial arts should wear sports guards routinely.
How often do I need to replace my sports guard?
In the growing child with erupting teeth, loosening and loss of child milk teeth and the emergence of new adult teeth, it may be necessary to replace the custom sports guards on an annual basis or sooner. Sometimes they can be designed to last a little longer by leaving spaces for erupting adult teeth. However this is to the detriment of fit and therefore some compromise in comfort and retention.
In the established adult dentition, sports guards, if maintained well, can serve their purpose for several years as long as there has been no major changes in the dentition as a result of dental treatment.
How should I care for a sports guard?
Clean your sports guard by washing it with soap and lukewarm (not hot) water after use. They can also be soaked in cleaning solutions that can be made up following manufacturer’s instructions from proprietary tablets such as Nitradine and Puradent which kill 99.99% of bacteria. Keep your sports guard in the supplied plastic storage box when not in use. Heat can distort sports guards, so don’t leave them in direct sunlight or in a closed car in the summer.