New season, new mouth guard!
It’s the beginning of another new season! Time for membership and insurance, new uniforms, replace outgrown shoes . . . and, yes, get a new mouthguard.
Types of guard
The cheap off-the-shelf mouth guard offers little in the way of protection in the event of a knock to the face. This is simply because it can only ever provide an approximate fit.
In comparison, the boil-and-bite / DIY version appears to offer a degree of customisation. Unfortunately they don’t fit snugly, aren’t as comfortable and consequently spend much time out of the mouth. Or being chewed!
The custom-made-from-the-dentist variety offers the best possible fit and protection by effectively spreading the force of a blow over a wider area.
Making of a custom mouth guard
The key is achieving a perfect fit: a U-shaped tray filled with ‘putty’ – sometimes freshly mixed in the surgery – is fitted onto the upper row of teeth, or the ‘upper arch’. It is held in place by the dentist. This impression material dries quickly and is then carefully removed – which sometimes, due to the snug fit, requires a bit of ‘wiggling’. The result is a perfect cast of the upper teeth. Plaster of Paris is poured in and allowed to set before the impression is removed – leaving a perfect model of the teeth.
Acrylic – in the colour or pattern of choice – is applied under vacuum ensuring the material moulds to the model. A well-fitting device will allow the wearer to breathe freely and talk clearly.
Teenagers and young adults feature significantly in the sporting population – and trauma resulting in broken teeth can mean a lifetime of dental problems.
Health funds do help with mouthguards
Private health funds offer a rebate for one mouthguard per year ranging from $50 to 80% of the fee. To find out your particular cover, call your fund and quote the dental code for a custom-fit mouthguard which is 151.
When it comes to chipped, broken or missing teeth, prevention really is the best medicine.