For athletes, dental care takes on a whole new meaning. In addition to proper brushing and flossing, an athlete must take steps to protect his teeth during all sports-related activity. In most cases, this involves the use of a specially fitted mouth guard. The mouth guard is designed to help prevent unnecessary injury to the teeth and/or soft tissues of the mouth. Of course, the mouth guard is not expected to take the place of a full or partial face mask and/or protective helmet.
Preventing Sports-Related Dental Injuries with Mouth Guards
When mouth guards are properly designed to fit the individual’s mouth, they provide protection and can help to prevent a number of serious injuries. Some of these problematic issues include:
- Injury to the soft tissues of the gums
- Injury to the lips
- Injury to the temporomandibular joint located in the hinge-like portion of the jaw
- Injury to the teeth including fractures, chipping, and breakage
- Loss of teeth
Treating Sports-Related Dental Injuries
The field of sports dentistry is designed to assist athletes with injuries they have received during practices or games. Unfortunately, injuries to the mouth can be disfiguring and the treatment can be costly depending upon the severity of the damage. Not only can sports-related injury treatment be costly in terms of finances, but some restorative and reparative strategies take time.
It is important to realize that most sports-related injuries are treated much the same as damage created in a different manner. Therefore, your local Las Vegas dentist has the skills needed to treat the injury to your oral environment.
The dental treatment timeline depends upon the extent of the damage. If necessary, our dentist can attempt to work around the athlete’s playing schedule. Permanent replacements and other reparative strategies can be delayed until the athlete has the time to come in for a proper evaluation and long-term treatment as needed.
Types of Mouth Guards for Athletes
Two basic types of mouth guards are available. They include pre-fabricated styles that can be purchased in most drugstores and athletic shops as well as custom-fitted styles made by a dentist.
While an over-the-counter mouth guard may be sufficient for some athletes, other individuals might find them cumbersome and unwieldy. In this case, a custom-fitted mouth guard created by the dentist may fit better, encouraging the athlete to wear it more frequently. Both types of mouth guards are the kind that you must boil and then bite on to create the proper fit. It is possible to reheat them and adjust their fit if needed. A custom-fitted mouth guard is generally crafted from stronger material and is designed to fit your teeth closely since they have been made using a cast of your teeth.
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