How mouthguards can save your child from serious injury:
Mouth guards, also known as sports guards or athletic mouth protectors, are crucial pieces of equipment for any child participating in recreational or sporting activities. Fitting snugly over the upper teeth, mouth guards protect the entire oral region from traumatic injury, preserving both the esthetic appearance and the overall health of your child. In addition, mouth guards are sometimes used to prevent tooth damage in children who grind (brux) their teeth at night.
It is imperative, and we strongly advocate for the use of dental mouth guards during any sporting or recreational activity. This is true for adults and children
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Why should my child use a mouth guard?
Though mouth guards are primarily designed to protect the teeth, they can also vastly reduce the degree of force transmitted from a trauma impact point (jaw) to the central nervous system (base of the brain). In this way, mouth guards help minimize the risk of traumatic brain injury, which is especially important for younger children.
Mouth guards can also greatly reduce the impact of the following injuries:
- Cheek lacerations
- Gum and soft tissue injuries
- Jawbone fractures
- Lip Lacerations
- Neck injuries
- Tongue Lacerations
- Tooth fractures
What type of mouth guard should I purchase for my child?
Though there are literally thousands of mouth guard brands, most brands fall into three major categories: stock mouth guards, boil and bite mouth guards, and customized mouth guards.
At Lifesmiles Family Dentistry, we believe that having a custom fitted mouth guard is money well spent to protect your child against many types of trauma. This is also true for the adults in your life.
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Here is an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of different types of mouth guards:
- Stock mouth guards – These mouth guards can be bought directly off the shelf and immediately fitted into the child’s mouth. The fit is universal (one-size-fits-all), meaning that that the mouth guard doesn’t adjust. Stock mouth guards are very cheap, easy to fit, and quick to locate at sporting goods stores. Pediatric dentists favor this type of mouth guard least, as it provides minimal protection, obstructs proper breathing and speaking, and tends to be uncomfortable.
- Boil and bite mouth guards – These mouth guards are usually made from thermoplastic and are easily located at most sporting goods stores. First, the thermoplastic must be immersed in hot water to make it pliable, and then it must be pressed on the child’s teeth to create a custom mold. Boil and bite mouth guards are slightly more expensive than stock mouth guards, but tend to offer more protection, feel more comfortable in the mouth, and allow for easy speech production and breathing.
- Customized mouth guards – These mouth guards offer the greatest degree of protection, and can be custom-made at Lifesmiles Family Dentistry. First, we makes an impression of the child’s teeth using special material, and then the mouth guard is constructed over the mold. Customized mouth guards are more expensive and take longer to fit, but are more comfortable, orthodontically correct. Since they provide a greater degree of protection than a store-bought mouth guard, we believe the money to be well spent in protection.
If you have questions or concerns about choosing a mouth guard for your child, please contact Lifesmiles today.