Are you an athlete? Or do you at least try hard to be? In Longmeadow, MA, we have a pretty good tradition of athletics, from our Longmeadow High Lancers tearing up the lacrosse field to pick-up basketball games at Bliss Park.
It probably goes without saying that if you play sports, any sports, you’re probably going to need some safety equipment. Helmets protect against the big hits in football that cause concussions,pads for hockey; even the look of baseball is changing to accommodate a greater emphasis on safety (if you haven’t seen the pitcher for the Mets, Alex Torres in his new hat, it’s worth a quick Google search).
Another important piece of safety equipment that should be worn during virtually any sport is the humble mouthguard. Unfortunately, the mouthguards that are most popular are the worst to wear: they’re uncomfortable in your mouth and actually provide very little protection because they don’t fit properly (to say nothing of the materials they’re made of), and that’s assuming that they’re worn at all. If you’ve ever worn a mouthguard from the sporting goods store, it’s probably safe to say you might wear it through the first half of the first game of the season, but at some point it ends up at the bottom of your gym bag (where it can’t do much good at all).
At Dores Dental, we can fit you with a custom-made athletic mouthguard. A custom mouthguard has a superior fit, and they are made of high-performance materials. You’ll actually want to wear it because it is comfortable, and because it fits your mouth and teeth precisely, it is actually able to protect your teeth.
Aren’t Custom Mouthguards Expensive?
Custom mouthguards certainly cost more than the “one-size-fits-all” options at the sporting goods store. If cost is concern, consider this: every year in the US, 5 million teeth are injured (broken, or avulsed). 40% of those injuries are sports-related, and overall those broken teeth cost us collectively $200,000,000 a year! That high cost has as much to do with treating the lifelong consequences of tooth injury as it does people not wearing their mouthguards when playing high-intensity sports where physical contact is a part of the game.
How Are Custom Mouthguards Better Than Store-Bought?
A custom mouthguard will fit better, meaning that it actually provides the protection you need, and it will be more comfortable to wear, so you’ll actually use it when you compete!
The mouthguards you can buy at the store provide neither fit nor any actual protection. They’re so uncomfortable that they’re often spat out before the game ends, and then never worn again. Store-bought mouthguards fall into two basic categories: stock, and boil-and-bite.
Stock Mouthguards Are Designed To Sell Plastic, Not Protect Your Teeth
Stock mouthguards are called “stock” because they are mass-produced (usually very cheaply, using very cheap materials) and there is no way to customize them to make them fit or function better.
Stock mouthguards look (and feel) very much like the dental trays your dentist uses to make an impression of your teeth. They only approximate the general shape of an arch of teeth, and everybody gets the same size. This is a big problem, because the mouthguard will slip and slide in your mouth while you wear it; this can cause you to gag, and if you actually do suffer an impact (say from a big center’s elbow), it will only protect a few of your teeth (the rest are more or less exposed to the full impact). They’re made of cheap, flimsy plastic that doesn’t really inspire much confidence in their ability to protect your precious teeth!
Boil-and-Bite Provide the Illusion of Customization
Boil-and-bite mouthguards were introduced in the 1960s. They can be customized to “fit”; they’re called “boil-and-bite” because you put them in boiling water, which softens the plastic enough for you to bite down and create an impression of your teeth. If you mess up the first time, you can just repeat the process until it seems like it fits well.
This is an illusion of customization, not actual customization. When your dentist creates your mouthguard, it will based upon a dental impression, along with images of your teeth, and designed with the expertise of an experienced professional in dental care. That is customization you should pay for, and anything less is not worth the money.
Think about it this way: you boil the mouthguard to soften it up so you can bite into it. Your mouth is a pretty warm place, and who hasn’t clenched their teeth during intense physical activity? Eventually, the “custom fit” is lost, making the boil-and-bite mouthguard just as slippery as a stock mouthguard. The material is also weak, and it’s common for people to actually bite through them (which renders them completely useless, as if they did much at all anyway).
Make the investment now to avoid greater expense later!
A custom mouthguard will not only fit more comfortably and protect your teeth better, but it will last much longer, through multiple seasons of whatever kind of competition gets your motor running. We can even customize your mouthguard to optimize it for specific sports!
Don’t be a statistic! Get fitted for a custom mouthguard from Dores Dental. Dial 413-241-3995 to reach our office, or click here for our online appointment form and book your visit now!