There are many hazards of playing contact sports, without the use of a mouthguard such as lip and facial laceration, dental fracture, tooth displacement, jaw fracture, concussion and even brain haemorrhage – all avoidable if a properly fitting mouthguard had been worn. The mouthguard works by preventing the lower jaw from jamming in to the upper jaw.
There is vast evidence that, in most sports, the cost of treatment following dental and facial injuries is greater than for any other injury. This is because most sports injuries (eg. bones) heal completely without residual disability, whilst injuries to the mouth can often entail further extensive treatment throughout life.
Function of a Mouthguard
There are three main reasons for wearing a mouthguard:
- acts like a shock absorber
- dissipates forces over a wider area
- delays transmission of any forces
Custom-Made mouthguards – such as those provided by FirstLine, offer the best protection. That is why organisations such as the British Dental Association and the governing bodies for rugby, hockey and lacrosse only recommend custom-made mouthguards.
Shop-Sold mouthguards – involve heating the product in hot water and putting it in the mouth until it sets. Unfortunately, these ‘over-the-counter’ mouthguards often fit badly and can be uncomfortable to wear. They impede speech and breathing, are likely to fall out and can even cause choking. Crucially, the material is at its thinnest where it is needed most. This is why organisations like the British Dental Association and the Rugby Football Union only recommend custom-made mouthguards.
We will advise on which weight of FirstLine is required. However, as a general rule of thumb:
Light-Weight – For children with only their milk teeth present.
Medium-Weight – Used where no hard stick or ball is required eg. Rugby, Soccer, Judo.
Heavy-Weight – Where a hard stick or ball is used eg. Cricket, Lacrosse or Hockey.
Lifespan of a Mouthguard
This depends on many factors, such as the age of the player, growth factors, usage etc. When the player is waiting for baby teeth to be shed / more adult teeth to erupt, the mouthguard may eventually become too tight or loose and will need to be re-made to fit the new shape of the mouth.
Adults may not need replacements quite so often, but they are like any other form of sports equipment and will suffer from wear and tear. We recommend annual inspection of your mouthguard to check for any problems.