9. Mouthguards

Helmet, knee and elbow protectors. It looks as if your child is ready to go skating.

But wait a minute their teeth – a mouth needs protection just as any other vital body part. Why is it so important to wear a mouth guard is what your child might ask but latest when he is the only one left on his hockey team with teeth present he will thank you. Explain the following:

  • An American study showed that more than 100 000 facial traumas occurred in the year 1991 including children younger than 14 years old. To date the number continues increasing exponentially.
  • A mouth guard is not only important for football or hockey players, The American Association for Paediatric Dentistry’ has decided that children should use a mouth guard while playing baseball, basketball, in-line skating, skate-boarding, cycling, riding and skiing.
  • The mouth guard cushions an attack directed to the oral cavity, otherwise it ends with an injury in the face; lips and tongue, broken teeth. A mouth guard will help cushion the impact in a severe injury and reduce the frequency of a cerebral concussion.
  • It occurs that a child might not want to wear a mouth guard because of its unknown feeling. Your child should with out doubt still be able to breathe and talk without problems as an effective mouth guard keeps the teeth in their regular position.

There are 3 types of Mouthguards:

Custom-made Mouthguards

This mouth guard offers the most comfort and fits perfectly, thus giving the best protection. To purchase one, a visit to your paediatric dentist is necessary. The dentist takes an impression of the teeth and the mouth guard is then prepared by a dental technician. This mouth guard covers all teeth, protects the jaw and can be used even when your child wears orthodontic braces.

Mouth guard made in the oral cavity

In this method, a prefabricated mouth guard is warmed and placed in the childs mouth to make it fit . The only negative aspect of this is that it becomes brittle after time. This method is not suitable for a child wearing orthodontic braces.

Pre-fabricated mouth guard

This is a good and cheap alternative that can be found in a sports shop. It is however pre-fabricated and therefore not custom made for each individual so the comfort of fit is lost.

Questions & Answers

What is a mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a specially made, rubber-like cover which fits exactly over your teeth and gums, cushioning them and protecting them from damage.

When would my child need a mouthguard?
It is important to wear a professionally made mouthguard whenever your child plays sport that involves physical contact or moving objects. This include: hockey and football – which can cause broken and damaged teeth; and soccer, boxing and rugby – which can all cause broken or dislocated jaws. A mouthguard will help protect against these events.

Where can my child get one made?
We will be happy to make your child a custom-made mouthguard, which will fit your mouth exactly and protect your child’s teeth and gums properly. Custom-made mouthguards can prevent damage to the jaw, neck and even the brain – helping to prevent the concussion and damage caused by heavy blow.

How long do custom-made mouthguards last?
Because your child is still growing , new teeth will come through and move into position. So the mouthguard may become too tight or loose, and will need to be remade to fit the new shape of your mouth. We recommend that you bring your child’s mouthguard along.

What about home kits?
Mouthguards are made by taking an accurate impression of your child’s mouth and making the mouthguard fit your own teeth. There are cheaper kits available. They involve heating the product in hot water and then putting it in your mouth until it sets. Unfortunately, these mouthguards can fit badly and be uncomfortable to wear. Then they can fall out or even cause choking. Also the material is at its thinnest where it is needed most.