When playing any sport that has a significant risk of injury, everyone should wear a mouth protector, especially those that wear braces or have dental work.
Sports protectors can help prevent major injury, such as broken teeth, in the mouth by cushioning the upper teeth. If you wear braces or another fixed dental appliance on your lower jaw, your dentist may suggest a mouth protector for these teeth as well. A sports protector creates a wall between your braces and your cheeks protecting your braces from damaging soft tissue.
Make sure the sports guard properly fits to your mouth while you are wearing it, making it easy to talk and breathe
There are three types of sports protectors:
Stock sports protectors are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.
- Boil and bite
Boil and bite mouth protectors also can be bought at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock sports protectors. They should be softened in water, then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. If you don’t follow the directions carefully you can wind up with a poor-fitting sports protector, that can lead to jaw joint problems.
Custom-fitted sports protectors are made by your dentist for you personally. They may cost more than the other versions, but because they are customized they can offer a better fit than anything you can buy off the shelf. Because of the custom fit, it stays in place with no effort. The jaw stay properly aligned, unlike other options, and reduces joint stress that can lead to jaw joint problems.
Talk to your dentist about selecting a mouth protector that works best for you. Although mouth protectors typically only cover the upper teeth, your dentist may suggest that you use a sports protector on the lower teeth if you have braces on these teeth too.
Any removable appliance or retainer should be removed when playing any contact sport.