Dallas Mouthguards by Dr. Becky Coats
If you participate in any competitive or recreational sport, it’s important to make sure you have the appropriate protective gear. That includes a mouthguard. A mouthguard can protect your teeth from injury, and may even reduce the risk of concussion. There are many kinds of mouthguards, but we can make sure that you get the one that’s right for you. Some mouthguards may even help with your performance.
Do You Need a Mouthguard?
Dental mouthguards are recommended for all types of sports. However, a surprising number of people do not wear mouthguards. Even in contact sports such as tae kwon do, only about half of competitors in one survey wore mouthguards. In some studies, rates are even less for sports where contact can occur but isn’t inherent in the sport, such as soccer or basketball. However, in these sports, perhaps 10% of all competitors can receive a dental injury each year without a mouthguard.
Whenever you suffer a trauma to the orofacial region, a custom-made mouthguard may reduce your injury by half. When you consider the potential cost of a dental injury, perhaps as much as $15,000 in lifetime care for a single injury, a mouthguard is a good investment.
Choosing the Type of Mouthguard
There are essentially three types of mouthguards that are available:
- Stock mouthguards
- Mouth-fitted mouthguards
- Custom-made mouthguards
Stock mouthguards come off the shelf and are used as-is. They are not fitted to your mouth in any way. Although they have been shown to provide some level of protection, they likely provide much less protection than other types.
Mouth-fitted mouthguards are also called boil-and-bite mouthguards because that’s essentially how they work. The mouthguards are put in boiling water, then placed in your mouth. You bite down on them to form them around your teeth.
Custom-fitted mouthguards are made by your dentist to fit your teeth. They are more expensive, but may offer greater protection than other types.
No matter what type of mouthguard you select, make sure you choose one that is comfortable and doesn’t interfere with your speaking or breathing.
Neuromuscular Mouthguards To Enhance Performance
You may have heard that some kinds of mouthguards are able to improve your performance. They can help you to jump higher, run faster, be stronger, and have more endurance. This is true for some people. If you suffer from TMJ, you may have muscles that are constantly working hard against the bones and teeth in your jaw. These muscles may work so hard they may pull your cervical vertebrae out of alignment. They may even cause constriction of your airway.
By putting your jaw in a more natural, relaxed position, you won’t have muscles eating up vital resources you need to perform at your highest level. You will have a straighter spine, which can help with balance (not to mention your golf swing), and you can have better access to air when you need it.