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Why Wear a Sports Guard

Orofacial injury in sports is common but preventable.  The overall risk of injury is 60 times greater when a mouthguard is not used during sports.  The estimated cost of a single lost front tooth over a lifetime is $5,000 to $20,000 .   The cost of a sports guard is between $50 and $400 depending on the thickness, and quality.  

Sports guards protect the teeth, oral tissues, maxilla, mandible, TMJ and the head and neck from intracranial pressure change and bone deformation during contact sports.  They can prevent facial bone fractures as well has TMJ Injury and head injuries.  The also safeguard from tooth avulsion, and protect teeth from clenching which may cause fractures, wear or injury.  There has been some talk that they may also decrease the chance of concussion, but there is no data to support this claim. 

A properly fitted mouthguard should have a thickness of at least 3mm to keep the jaws separated.  It should be comfortable and durable.  The wearer should be able to breath and speak easily.  The wearer should not have to bite together to keep the guard in place.  An ill-fitting guard may be knocked out with a blow and become a choking hazard.  Also steer clear of translucent guards and red guards, so that if trauma does happen health care providers can readily see the guard.

Dental office made guards are fitted exactly to your teeth.  They are generally thinner than store bought guards and have a perfect fit.  There is no worry of them falling out and you can speak and breath easily in them.   They are durable and comfortable, and much more likely to be worn by the athlete.  They can be bought in all sorts of colours and designs.

Guards should be worn both during practices and games.  They are recommended for the following sports: 

Acrobats, basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, across, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling.

Children and those with braces should also wear sports guards.  In the case of orthodontics  a moulded guard may not be the most feasible option.  A guard that can be remoulded several times is ideal for someone with braces as the guard will need to be adjusted each time the teeth are moved.  An example of such a guard is the Aeor Guard by NextGen.   After orthodontics is complete the athlete should move to a custom made guard.

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