Tech Talk With Dr. Cranska

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In upcoming months, I will answer questions on high-technology dentistry. Please direct inquiries to my website at www.cranska.com or email me at familylaserdentistry@outlook.com.

Wear Your Sports Mouthguard

Soccer and football seasons are here. School-age children are the most likely to suffer injuries to their mouths and teeth while playing contact sports or even low-contact sports.

Athletic mouthguards can save teeth and surrounding bone from breaking. They also can prevent lacerations and bruising of the lips and cheeks.

A mouthguard should always be a part of your sporting gear. Keep in mind that to be effective as a protector, the mouthguard needs to fit and stay in place. That being said, no guard will prevent 100% of mouth and jaw injuries. Your dentist’s office is the first place to go for information and treatment options.

Q: What is the difference between a boil-and-bite guard and a custom sports mouthguard?

A: The purpose of the guard is to prevent your top and bottom teeth from contacting each other during violent contact. A custom guard is more desirable than over-the-counter mouthguards because of better retention, controlled thickness, less bulk, and the ability to adjust.

The perfect guard will be comfortable; not affect speech; and be tear-resistant, odorless, tasteless and resilient to wear.

Q: How expensive are these protective athletic mouthguards?

A: Some custom guards are not much more expensive than traditionally used ones. The real savings is the significant amount of damage they can prevent.

Q: What sports require guards?

A: The National Federation of State High School Associations mandates use of protective mouthguards in football, field and ice hockey, and lacrosse. The American Dental Association recommends that athletically active people of all ages use a properly fitted mouthguard in any sporting or recreational activity that may pose risk of an injury. This includes use in almost 30 sports. The regulated use in these sports may be optional, but an individual’s mouthguard usage should be mandatory.

Mouthguard Care and Replacement

Ask your dentist about the right time to replace your mouthguard. Replace it immediately if it shows sign of wear, distortion, damage, or if it becomes ill-fitting. Teens and children may need to replace their mouthguards more often because their mouths are still growing and changing.

Between uses, keep your mouthguard clean and dry. Regularly clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water, and rinse it thoroughly.

Always bring your mouthguard for a thorough cleaning during your regular dental checkups. Store and transport the mouthguard in a sturdy closed container that has vents so it can dry. Also, never leave the mouthguard in the sun. Regularly check the fit and for signs of wear and tear to see if it needs replacing. Lastly, pets can see any dental appliance as a chew toy, so be sure to store your mouthguard in its case, and don’t leave it out in plain sight.

The important message is to wear a well-fitted mouthguard and take proper care of it. Guards only work if you wear them. Play safe and have fun.

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