July 7, 2021
Should my child wear a mouthguard whilst playing sports?
Imagine losing one or two of your front teeth, everyday actions such as smiling, talking, and eating would be affected. Now imagine if it were your child that lost or damaged teeth whilst playing a sport at school or a local club – an injury that could affect the rest of their lives but that could be prevented.
Dentists in the UK are lobbying for the mandatory use of mouthguards* for all school children or club players participating in contact sports. A sport which involves significant physical contact between opponents increases the risk of damaging teeth. The risk increases further in fast, physical sports like rugby or hockey, especially when moving objects are involved (such as bats and balls). Many dental injuries are sports related and protecting your child’s teeth should be high on the list of priorities.
Unfortunately, a broken or damaged tooth doesn’t heal like a bone and can require lifelong maintenance. An increasing number of dental injuries happen whilst playing sports and as dental specialists we have seen many broken or chipped teeth, or even entire teeth knocked out. Time is critical when treating dental trauma and it is vital that a dentist is seen as soon as possible to ensure the best long-term outcome.
At Bristol Dental Specialists we can help ensure that you are providing the best protective mouthguard for your child by fitting a custom-made appliance. Using our three-dimensional intraoral scanner, we can take extremely accurate images of the inside of the mouth ensuring the perfect fit. The scanning process itself is far more comfortable and saves time compared to taking gooey impressions of the teeth, particularly difficult to do when working with smaller mouths!
We then send these 3D images directly to our lab technician who will produce a mouthguard which will fit your child perfectly and offer superior protection. We can even personalise the appliance with colours, patterns, and logos. Within a few days the mouthguard will be ready and can either be posted directly to you or you can come back to the practice to have it fitted. Very occasionally appliances need adjusting as they may rub slightly but this can be done by the Specialist at the practice in no time at all.
A custom-made mouthguard is made of a pliable material and will be comfortable, well-fitting, and should not dislodge on impact. It will help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to lips, tongue, face, or jaw.
A mouthguard is especially important for people who wear braces. Many children wear braces, and this certainly shouldn’t stop them doing the things they love, including playing sports. For high-impact sports such as football, hockey, and rugby you should wear a guard. Any sport that could give you an accidental blow to the face could damage your brace or teeth and have a negative impact on any orthodontic treatment.
A mouthguard will lesson damage to the brackets of a fixed orthodontic brace and will also provide a barrier between the brace itself and the soft tissue inside the mouth preventing painful injuries. Most mouthguards are designed to fit directly over your teeth, to accommodate a brace we do advise that you invest in a custom-made appliance for your child.
The mouthguard should also be inspected regularly to check its fit, this is particularly important for children who are still growing and for those who wear orthodontic braces. It is important to look after the mouthguard to ensure its longevity and continued effectiveness. It should be rinsed with cold water or a mouth rinse before and after each use and/or cleaned with a toothbrush. It should be stored in its firm, perforated container when not in use.
Our Specialist in Endodontics, Lyndon Meehan, has seen many injuries that could have been prevented, or lessened by the use of a mouthguard. Lyndon, a previous inaugural board member of the national charity Dental Trauma UK has a history of successfully managing traumatic dental injuries arising in sport and the subsequent Endodontic challenges that can arise,
Bristol Dental Specialists can accept dental referrals to ensure that your child has the best possible protection for their teeth. Our simple online referral forms can be found here.
Protecting teeth by wearing a mouthguard for sport is essential. A mouthguard made by a dental professional will be specifically fitted to your child’s mouth, teeth, and gums, providing better protection and comfort - leaving your superstar to concentrate on their game!