Consumer Center : Mouthguards
South Dakota requires the use of mouthguards by students who participate in football and hockey; however, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the use of mouthguards during all athletic activities where there is a strong potential for contact with other athletes or hard surfaces.
Mouthguards, which essentially serve as shock absorbers, can significantly reduce injuries. Without them, athletes are 60 times more likely to damage or lose teeth. But mouthguards aren’t just for protecting teeth. They can also help prevent lacerations, fractures, dislocations and may even help reduce the severity and incidence of concussions.
Mouthguards provide a resilient protective surface to distribute and dissipate forces on impact, thereby minimizing the severity of traumatic injury to the hard or soft tissue. They are an important piece of athletic gear that can protect against serious dental injury and should be used along with other athletic gear.
There are three basic types of mouthguards:
1) ready-made, or stock, mouthguard;
2) mouth-formed , or “boil and bite” mouthguard;
3) custom-made mouthguard made by a dentist.
In order for a mouthguard to function properly the mouthguard must by properly fitted. For that reason mouth-formed or custom-made mouthguards are recommended over stock mouthguards.
There are a number of companies that sell mouth-formed mouthguards and they are available in stores that sell athletic equipment and through the internet. These mouthguards come in a varying quality and price. A good fit can be obtained by following the manufacturer’s directions for properly fitting the mouthguard. Parent or guardian supervision of fitting these mouthguards is recommended.
Mouthguards made by a dentist provide the best fit and therefore the best results. In addition to providing the best protection, custom-fit mouthguards are less bulky and more comfortable than mouth- formed or stock mouthguards, thus increasing the likelihood of the athlete consistently wearing the mouthguard.
See the following articles from the Journal of the American Dental Association for more information on mouthguards: