5 Reasons a Custom-Fit Mouthguard Is Safer

Time for a custom-fit mouthguard

Help your child protect their mouth while they play. 

Any parent of youngsters knows how busy those childhood years can be, especially if their children are involved in sports or other athletics. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, positively subjecting a child to a variety of sports can better enable that child to find an activity they will like for the long term. 

Since most kids are ready to participate in organized sports around age six, this can mean a lot of running around for mom or dad. Not only that, it can create a lot of worry for parents of kids involved in more aggressive sports, where they can risk injury.

Children are just as susceptible to injury as adults who play sports, but for different reasons. Kids are prone to injuries because they are still developing the complex motor skills that create better coordination necessary for most sports. In fact, these motor skills don’t usually fully develop until after puberty. This said, most parents assume that broken bones or sprains and muscle tears are the most common sports-related injury for children. But in reality, dental injuries are the most common facial injuries for athletes of all ages. 

To help lessen the risk of dental injury, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that parents have their child wear a mouthguard while participating in any organized sports activities. This need isn’t limited to the physically aggressive sports like football or hockey either. The AAPD and your child’s pediatric dentist recommend the use of a mouthguard for acrobatics, basketball, baseball, boxing, football, hockey (both ice and on land), martial arts, skateboarding, soccer, softball, volleyball, and more.

A custom-fit mouthguard is more effective than one you can purchase over-the-counter.

If you are the parent of a child involved in sports, we recommend a consultation with your child’s pediatric dentist to determine how to protect their teeth. Though over-the-counter (OTC) mouthguards are an option, many patients find them uncomfortable as they do not precisely fit in the mouth. Further, since OTC mouthguards use thinner plastic, they may not provide your child with optimal protection. And more so, since OTC mouthguards are designed as a one-size-fits-many, it could interfere with your child’s breathing and speech as it may only stay in place when their mouth is closed.

Custom-fit mouthguards, on the other hand, typically work far better than their OTC counterparts.

1. Custom-fit mouthguards better conform to the mouth. 

OTC mouthguards are made using a boil and bite process where the mouthguard is placed into boiling water to make the plastic soft and pliable. Then, the mouthguard is placed in the mouth so that the wearer can bite down, creating an impression. Adjustments are made with scissors or a razor blade. Custom-fit mouthguards, however, are made using accurate impressions to create the mold. This results in a stronger mouthguard without all those rough edges.

2. The boil and bite method can result in holes or air bubbles.

OTC mouthguards have the potential of getting holes from biting down too hard during the boil and bite process. You also risk getting air bubbles in the plastic due to leaving the plastic in the boiling water for too long. The best bet for an OTC mouthguard is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely. 

3. OTC mouthguards don’t always stay in place.

Even though a semi-custom fit will result from the boil and bite method, it won’t be an accurate fit. A custom-fit mouthguard is less likely to hamper speech or impact breathing and swallowing because it is designed to stay in place. And because of this, an OTC mouthguard might not remain in place when your child is speaking, laughing, swallowing, or playing. In most cases, the only way to hold the mouthguard in place is to keep the mouth closed. 

4. An OTC mouthguard will need to be replaced more frequently.

Because of their thin material, OTC mouthguards need to be replaced about every three to six months, and possibly more frequently if it is used daily. Custom-fit mouthguards usually last three to five years, though more often if your child grows. Parents should know that mouthguards lose their effectiveness as the thickness wears away as well since there is a reduction in protective material to absorb a potential impact. The best way to ensure a good ongoing fit for your child’s mouthguard is to bring it to your child’s dental cleanings and oral examinations so that the pediatric dentist can examine the fit and determine if a new one is needed. 

5. Your child’s custom-fit mouthguard can be tailored to their bite and to the sports they’re playing.

At Pediatric Dental Specialists of Greater Nebraska, we use dental technology to make quick impressions of your child’s mouth so that they don’t need to sit uncomfortably with putty in their mouth. Not only does this technology create a more comfortable experience, it also means that your child’s mouthguard can be produced in their team colors. And your child will be more likely to wear their mouthguard without argument when it is comfortable and fun!

We make custom-fit mouthguards for your child’s optimum comfort and safety. 

Our first and foremost goal is to help your child have healthy teeth and gums that will last their lifetime. To achieve that goal, we want to help protect their teeth when they have fun and play the sports they love. Mouthguards help keep your child’s teeth safe and intact when they are playing sports or participating in other athletic events. These oral devices prevent dental injury by absorbing impact when it happens. This gives parents and their sports-minded children peace of mind when they are at play, whether it is on the field, in the stadium, or at the gym.

If your child needs a custom-fit mouthguard in Greater Nebraska, now is the time to request an appointment at one of our four convenient locations in Grand Island, Hastings, North Platte, or Omaha. We’re experts in dentistry for children and protecting your child’s teeth from sports-related trauma.