It is fall and that means school is back in session, football is back, and kids’ sports are taking off again. If your child is playing sports this year, you should consider getting him or her a sports mouthguard to help prevent dental and head injuries. This article will help you understand the ins and outs of mouthguards for kids’ sports.
A sports mouthguard is a piece of protective equipment held in the mouth during play to protect the teeth in the event of an impact. There are multiple kinds of mouthguards, and they all reduce the risk of injury. Mouthguards prevent up to 200,000 emergency room visits each year.
A mouthguard protects your child’s teeth by absorbing the force of the impact if he or she hits another player or the ground. This reduces the chances of chipped, broken, or fractured teeth. It also prevents teeth from being knocked out, protects the lips, mouth, and tongue, and helps redistribute the force of an impact to the head.
Your child should wear a sports mouthguard for any contact or impact sport. Here in Santa Barbara that generally includes football, hockey, basketball, lacrosse, rugby, and soccer. Some other sports that a mouthguard would be beneficial for include skateboarding and mountain biking.
You can choose from three different kinds of sports mouthguards for your child. The cost goes up as you get more customized, but so does the protection offered by the mouthguard. Stock options can be purchased at normal retailers, but custom mouthguards are only available from dentists and orthodontists.
You can buy a stock mouthguard at any sporting goods store and many department stores. These are inexpensive but only come in one size, which means they do not offer the best fit. They are bulky, difficult to talk around, and do not last as long as other options.
These are one step up from stock mouthguards. You can still purchase them off the shelf at most sporting goods stores. You soften these mouthguards using boiling water and then have the athlete bite down on the guard to help adjust the fit. The result is a semi-custom mouthguard. They still do not have the best fit but are only moderately more expensive and better than stock mouthguards.
A custom mouthguard is created just for your child using impressions of his or her teeth. Custom mouthguards are custom made by your Santa Barbara dentist. You cannot just buy one at the store or order it online. When you bring your child in for a custom mouthguard, we will take the impressions and send them off to a dental lab to create the mouthguard.
The resulting mouthguard will be fit-tested when it is returned to the office to make sure it is correct. A custom mouthguard is 100 percent customized to your child and offers the best fit and best protection. Naturally, it is also the most expensive of the three options.
Absolutely. In fact, it is even more important for children with braces to wear sports mouthguards. The mouthguard will protect the braces from damage as well as the teeth and prevent damage to your child’s gums. Kids with braces need to wear a mouthguard designed to fit over their braces. Sometimes you can use a stock mouthguard, but a custom mouthguard will work better in these cases.
If your child has braces and is going to play sports, it is important to visit your provider in our Santa Barbara office to find out what type of mouthguard will be best for him or her.
A good quality, well-fitting mouthguard should last for an entire season or up to six months. Mouthguards become less effective when they become thinner, and this may happen much sooner with the less expensive mouthguards you can find off the shelf at retailers.
Even if your child’s mouthguard seems to be fine after the season, it is still important to replace it every six months because your child is still growing, and their teeth and bite are changing. These changes can affect the fit and protection afforded by the mouthguard.
Caring for a sports mouthguard is simple. Clean it with a toothbrush and toothpaste after every use. Periodically clean it with dish soap and warm water. Gently dry it or let it air dry after washing it. Keep it stored in a protective case when it is not being used to keep it from being damaged or broken.
The cost of a sports mouthguard for your child will vary depending on which kind of mouthguard you choose. Stock mouthguards can cost as little as ten dollars, boil and bite mouthguards cost a bit more, and custom mouthguards can be a few hundred dollars.
Your insurance may or may not provide coverage for a custom mouthguard for your child. When you come into the Santa Barbara office for a consultation, our team will contact your insurer and determine what kind of coverage you have. We also offer a variety of payment plans and financing options to help you get the care you need. Ask our staff if you have any questions about these options.
Call See Me Smile Dental and Orthodontics today. We provide restorative, preventative, and cosmetic dentistry for the entire family right here in Santa Barbara. We also provide orthodontic care. Our innovative, up-to-date office even offers flexible appointment times to help you fit your dental care into your busy schedule.
Call 805-284-0826 and schedule your first appointment with See Me Smile Dental and Orthodontics today!
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