Sports Dentistry - Mouthguards

Sports dentistry is the area of dentistry that treats and prevents dental injuries caused by participation in sports or physical exercise. The primary focus of sports dentistry is prevention, which is most effectively provided by custom-made mouthguards. A custom-made mouthguard designed specifically for you by a dentist like Dr. Jessica Hill gives you the best possible protection from mouth injury while participating in sports or exercise.

Many athletes or active people assume they can get enough protection from a store-bought mouthguard. While these are probably better than not wearing a mouthguard at all, they are not designed well enough to provide good protection. Protection is only as good as the fit of the mouthguard. Mouthguards that are one-size-fits-all are the least effective mouthguards you can buy. They are also the least expensive, but that’s for good reason.

One step up from one-size-fits-all mouthguards are boil-and-bite mouthguards. These aim to fit each person more correctly by allowing the wearer to adjust the shape of the mouthguard by biting into it after it’s been softened in boiling water. But these mouthguards still don’t fit as precisely as a mouthguard that has been designed specifically by a professional for your mouth.

Because they fit better, dental mouthguards not only provide better protection, but they are more comfortable. Many athletes find that they have a gag reflex that prevents them from comfortably wearing a mouthguard. The better a mouthguard fits, the less likely it is to trigger a gag reflex. But if this is still a problem, dentists are familiar with helping people who have a gag reflex and can offer tips to control and possibly even eliminate it.

Some people may think that because they are amateur athletes or only participate in sports occasionally, that a store-bought mouthguard is good enough. But mouth injuries don’t discriminate. You are at risk for mouth injuries each and every time you are engaged in sports or physical activity, so wearing a well-protecting mouthguard each time is important.

When mouth injuries do occur to athletes, medical treatment from a doctor may be needed first. Damage to the teeth can then be addressed by a dentist. In some cases of severe injury, oral surgery may be required. Sports medicine and sports dentistry often work together to treat injuries.

If you would like to learn more about dental mouthguards or have any questions about sports dentistry, call Dr. Hill’s office in Alexandria, Virginia now.

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