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Mouthguards and Dental Emergencies

The importance of mouthguards

A mouthguard is usually a flexible piece of plastic or rubber that fits into the mouth. It should be worn during all recreational and athletic activities to protect the mouth and teeth from serious injury. It should especially be worn during activities where there may be contact with another person, piece of equipment, or the ground. In particular, mouthguards should be worn during these sports:

  • Football

  • Basketball

  • Soccer

  • Rugby

  • Wrestling

  • Baseball

  • Softball

  • Lacrosse

  • Field hockey

  • Ice hockey

  • Martial arts

  • Boxing

Some of these sports need the use of a mouthguard at the amateur level.

Many recreational activities, such as skateboarding and bicycling, also pose a risk of injuring the mouth and teeth. Use caution during these activities.

Mouthguards and preventable injuries

Many injuries to the teeth, mouth, and head could be prevented with correct and regular use of a mouthguard. These injuries may include:

  • Dislodged or knocked-out teeth

  • Broken or chipped teeth

  • Bitten or cut (lacerated) tongue or lip

  • Objects caught or lodged between the teeth

  • Jaw fracture

  • Jaw collision, when the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw

Types of mouthguards

There are several types of mouthguards that can be used. These are 3 of the most common types:

  • Premade mouthguards. One type is already made and can be found in most sports stores or pharmacies. There are different types and brands. Choose the 1 that fits best and is most comfortable.

  • Boil and bite. Available at sporting goods stores or pharmacies, these mouthguards are softened in hot water, then adapted to the mouth while still soft.

  • Custom-made mouthguards. Your dentist can make a mouthguard specifically for you. These may be more expensive, but usually are more comfortable.

Ask your dentist or healthcare provider about the best type of mouthguard to use.

Mouthguard care

Clean your mouthguard regularly with cool water and soap. Rinse it well. Also rinse it between uses. Store it in a container with vents so it can dry. Replace the mouthguard if it's damaged or worn.

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