Fitting your child with the right sports equipment can enhance their performance and protect them from injuries. While the right shoes, padding, or helmet can provide protection for their feet, chest, and head, many parents overlook custom mouthguards. However, there’s proof that this protective device deserves serious consideration. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), children who don’t wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to experience tooth injuries while playing sports.
A mouthguard is a flexible, plastic appliance that fits over your child’s teeth to protect their mouth from trauma. When properly fitted, it can act as a buffer against impacts that can cause jaw injuries, broken or missing teeth, or tongue and lip cuts.
Emanuel Mizrahi, DDS, of Forest Hills Orthodontic Associates in Forest Hills, New York, creates custom mouthguards for children and athletes of all ages. In this blog, he discusses the protection custom mouthguard can provide and why your child should wear this valuable appliance for every game and practice.
What is a custom mouthguard?
A custom mouthguard offers the most comfortable and effective type of oral protection because it’s created from a mold of your child’s teeth. Since it’s customized, the appliance will accommodate your child’s unique mouth size and shape. Custom mouthguards can also accommodate dental appliances, a cleft palate, a protruding jaw, or a receding chin.
How does a custom mouthguard protect my child?
Most impact during sports occurs to the mouth, jaw, or chin. A mouthguard performs like a shock absorber by absorbing the impact and distributing it to the rest of the mouth. Since a custom mouthguard fits snugly over each tooth, it also softens the sharp edges of teeth to reduce damage during impact.
When jaw trauma occurs, a custom mouthguard can protect your child’s jaw joint by cushioning and reducing the amount of shock as the upper and lower jaws collide. A custom mouthguard can also protect your child’s jaws from fractures by reducing the shock upon impact.
Since a custom mouthguard fits snugly against your child’s teeth and stays in place without the need for biting or clenching down, your child can get optimal protection any time they wear a custom mouthguard.
Why are custom mouthguards better than other guards?
Mouthguards can be classified as stock mouthguards, boil-and-bite mouthguards, and custom mouthguards. The ADA recommends choosing a mouthguard that is resilient and tear-resistant, properly fitted, designed to allow unrestricted speech and breathing, and easy to clean.
While children can wear stock mouthguards right out of the package, there’s no room for adjustment. This one-size-fits-all approach often results in a clumsy fit. Athletes typically find it uncomfortable to breathe while wearing them, so resistance to using them is high.
Boil-and-bite mouthguards provide a limited amount of customization. They can be personalized by placing the mouthguard in boiling water. This softens the material so your child can put it in their mouth and bite down on it to mold the appliance to their teeth. However, to allow for this process, boil-and-bite mouthguards are made of thinner materials than custom mouthguards. As a result, they don’t provide optimal protection from impact.
When compared to a boil-and-bite mouthguard, a custom mouthguard offers superior comfort and protection, because it’s customized to your child’s teeth and mouth structure.
To find out more about getting a custom mouthguard for your child, book an appointment online or over the phone with Forest Hills Orthodontic Associates today.