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Treatments - Mouthguards

Properly diagnosed, designed, and custom fabricated mouthguards (gumshields) are essential in the prevention of athletic oral/facial injuries.

A properly fitted mouthguard must be protective, comfortable, resilient, tear resistant, odourless, tasteless, not bulky, cause minimal interference to speaking and breathing, and have excellent retention, fit, and sufficient thickness in critical areas.

Dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial injury sustained during participation in sports. Teeth that are knocked out and not properly preserved or reimplanted may cost many thousands of pounds, hours in the dentist’s chair and the possible development of other dental problems such as periodontal disease in a lifetime.

Over 90% of the mouthguards worn are bought at sports shops. The other 10% are of the custom made variety diagnosed and designed by a health professional.

Unfortunately, the word “mouthguard” is universal, generic and includes the good, the bad and the ugly.

There are three types presently available:

1.      Stock Mouthguard come in limited sizes (usually small, medium, and large) and are the least expensive and least protective. They are ready to be used without any further preparation, but are bulky, lack any retention and therefore must be held in place by constantly biting down. This interferes with speech and breathing, making it the least acceptable and least protective. They are often altered in an attempt to make it more comfortable, reducing the protection.


2.       Mouth formed or Boil and Bite Mouthguard  are the most commonly used mouthguard on the market. Made from a thermoplastic, they are softened in boiling water and formed in the mouth by using finger, tongue, and biting pressure. They often lack proper extensions and do not cover all the posterior teeth. Again, due to their poor fit, poor retention and gagging effects, users also cut and alter them. This further reduces the protection. When the user cuts off the posterior borders or bites through during moulding, the chance of injury from a blow to the chin is increased. Some of these injuries can cause life-long effects. Minimum thicknesses and extensions are necessary for proper protection.

We do not recommend either of these types of mouthguard.


3.      Custom-made Mouthguards are supplied by dental professionals and provide the fullest protection.  For a child aged 6 – 12 where adult and baby teeth are present space is provided for the erupted teeth. The design must be appropriate for the level of competition being played. Does there need to be additional protection in any specific area? Is there orthodontic treatment? These are important factors that the Stock and the Boil & Bite Mouthguards CANNOT begin to address.

They give full adaptation, retention, comfort, and stability of material and interfere least with speaking having virtually no effect on breathing. TheVacuum Mouthguard is made from a stone cast of the mouth (usually of the upper arch) using an impression. A thermoplastic material is adapted over the cast with a special vacuum machine.

It is then trimmed and polished to allow for proper tooth and gum adaptation.

All posterior teeth should be covered and muscle attachments allowed for. Single layer vacuum mouthguards are usually adequate, but it is now being shown that multiple layer (pressure laminated) mouthguards may be preferred for some  full contact sports.

The advantages of custom made mouthguards are:

  • Precise adaptation.
  • Negligible deformation when worn for a period of time.
  • The ability to thicken any area as required as well as place any inserts that may be needed for additional wearer protection.

As health professionals, we highly recommend the custom made mouthguard, for the very best in oral/facial protection.

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