A sports guard is a plastic tray that covers the entire upper arch of teeth to prevent tooth on tooth trauma from contact sports. A sports guard acts as a cushion between teeth, absorbing the blow. Sports guards should be worn for any sport where there is a risk of injury from another person or an intimate object, such as basketball, hockey, football, soccer, lacrosse, etc. Two common types of sports guards are boil and bite and professionally made.
Boil and Bite Sports Guards
This type of sports guard can be purchased in most sporting goods stores and is relatively inexpensive. The material is heated up and bit into, so an impression of the teeth is left to cool down. A boil and bite sports guard doesn’t offer the best protection because it isn’t designed specifically for each person’s teeth. Boil and bite sports guards are only recommended for children whose mouths are growing and changing.
Professionally Made Sports Guards
Professionally made sports guards are fabricated from an impression taken of the upper and lower teeth to get a replica. Professionally made sports guards offer the best fit and the best protection for the teeth and jaw. Professionally made sports guards also last longer than boil and bite sports guards. For any adult playing contact sports, it is always recommended to have a professionally made sports guard over a boil and bite sports guard.
Important Sports Guard Tips
- Wear your sports guard when playing a contact sport, even while practicing
- Clean your sports guard after each use with a separate toothbrush and warm water
- Store your sports guard in a clean case
- Never use hot water on your sports guard, as this may warp it.
- Your sports guard should fit snug to your teeth, and you shouldn’t be able to pop it out with your tongue. If you can, it is too loose and likely needs to be adjusted.
- If you notice chips or breaks on your sports guard, it might be time for a new one as it likely isn’t offering the same protection.
If you need a sports guard or have any questions about them, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.