When it comes to protecting your mouth while playing sports, there’s no better option than a custom mouthguard. But what makes a custom mouthguard different from the sports mouthguards that you can buy over the counter in drug stores or o the shelf in a sporting goods store? What is actually involved in customizing a mouthguard? Here’s what you need to know about how a mouth guard is customized specically for your needs.
How A Custom Mouthguard is Made
Custom mouthguards are made using models of your teeth, so they t your mouth exactly right.
If you’re familiar with over-the-counter mouthguards, you know that they are made to t a variety of different sizes and shapes of mouths. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will t your mouth well – just that you can t them into your mouth. However, a custom mouthguard is made by a dental professional specifically to t your mouth. Dentists use one of two processes to make a mouthguard that ts your mouth perfectly.
One method is known as the vacuum method. A piece of plastic that is warmed until it is soft is fitted over a model of the patient’s teeth. Then, a suction machine is used to vacuum the plastic down over the model, resulting in a fit that matches the patient’s teeth.
Another method is called the thermal pressure method. This method involves using thermal pressure to press together several layers of mouthguard material that have been laminated and hand-cut to match a model of the patient’s teeth. This method ensures a close fit and allows for a thicker mouthguard that can be even more protective of your teeth and mouth.
The thickness of a Custom Mouthguard
A custom mouthguard will be thick enough to provide full protection but still, fit comfortably.
One of the benefits of a custom mouthguard is that they tend to be thicker than generic mouthguards. If you’ve ever tried an over-the-counter mouthguard, you know that they can feel bulky and uncomfortable, and can even interfere with your breathing. However, you don’t have to worry that an even thicker custom mouthguard will be similarly bulky and restricting. Because it’s made to t your mouth exactly, a custom mouthguard can provide greater protection while also being optimized for comfort and maximum airflow.
What’s more, a custom mouthguard can be made to suit the needs of the athlete in their particular sport. For example, a boxer who will definitely experience blows to the face and head may need a thicker mouthguard than a baseball player whose risk is likely lower. Custom mouthguards allow for variations according to sport.
Cost of a Custom Mouthguard
If the cost of a custom mouthguard has you hesitating to invest in one, consider that unlike generic mouthguards, custom mouthguards are built to last. You may go through several o-the-shelf mouthguards in a season, but your custom mouthguard can last through several seasons if nothing changes in your dentition.
You should also consider the medical costs of an injury. A generic mouthguard may not provide enough protection to prevent an injury, and only custom mouthguards have been shown to help prevent traumatic brain injuries. A custom mouthguard could more than pay for itself by providing protection through even just one impact.
If you’re looking for a better way to protect your mouth while you play, talk to your dentist about a custom mouthguard. To schedule an appointment, contact us.