Preserve your smile whenever possible. Contact us today to ask about preventive care.
Preventive dentistry can help keep your teeth and gums disease and decay free and minimize the chances of your oral health adversely affecting the rest of your body.
Whether it's a rush down the field on a school sports team or a sparring match at a favorite ring or dojo, athletic pursuits are undeniably thrilling. Protective equipment is as crucial a piece of the puzzle as a ball or puck, but quality matters a great deal. A leg guard with a poor fit, for example, could leave vulnerable areas exposed to bruising. A helmet that's too large for a wearer could lead to head injuries during a tackle. That's why getting the right protective equipment in place before heading into a game or match is so important.
While pads, vests, and helmets protect the limbs and torso, mouthguards safeguard the teeth and jaw. While most users know that the layer of shielding offered by mouthguards cushions individual teeth against injuries, few realize that this little wearable device also protects the jawbone. Because sports and other physical activities often involve the unknown - an errant pass, a slip down a rock face, a mis-timed kick or punch - this double layer of mouth protection ensures an accident doesn't end in serious, lingering dental injuries. If you're currently working with the dedicated team in our dental office, a good mouthguard will also help protect any dental work we've completed.
While any mouthguard is better than none, make no mistake: they aren't all created equal. Mass-produced mouthguards, such as the styles found on drugstore or "big box" store shelves, need to appeal to a wide variety of wearers. That means a great deal of structural compromise in their design, such as material that's too soft. These designs can split under pressure or wear, which means the guard will need to be checked and replaced frequently, or it may give out in the middle of an important game. Additionally, a "one size fits all" design may leave a store-bought mouthguard feeling too loose or tight against the teeth to work effectively. Even if the wearer "corrects" the fit by constantly adjusting with tongue-pushing or biting, the gap or pinch can lead to gum irritation during long periods of wear.
The smartest option when choosing an athletic mouthguard is to have a custom model created specifically for the wearer. An investment in your dental health and safety, a guard won't prevent collisions and wayward sports balls, but it will lessen their impact on your mouth. A custom-made model ensures the guard will sit correctly in the mouth without pushing or chafing on the gums, tongue, or teeth. In younger mouthguard wearers, this is a very important benefit: losing "baby teeth" should happen naturally whenever possible, and the pressure from a poor mouthguard fit could speed up the clock!
After your custom mouthguard has been created by Dr. Kevin F. Postol and his team, it should be consistently worn every time you are engaging in athletic pursuits. Leaving a mouthguard behind in a locker or bag for even a single game can result in a dental injury - accidents occur whether you're prepared for them or not. Thankfully, in most sporting organizations, having a mouthguard in place is a participation must, just like safety equipment for the rest of the body.
Each time a mouthguard is worn, it must be cleaned and dried before storage, ideally in the case that is typically included with a new custom mouthguard. That's because, much like toothbrushes, retainers, and other intraoral devices, bacteria can accumulate without periodic rinsing and drying. Rinsing off saliva will also prevent material weakness and breakdown over time, ensuring excellent longevity and performance from your new custom guard. Good mouthguard hygiene practices, combined with the premium materials and structure of a custom, dentist-made design, prevents odor and unpleasant taste during wear.
A few handy mouthguard tips:
Even if you have a custom mouthguard made, your mouth may grow and change over time. Schedule a new mouthguard exam annually, or as-needed if your current mouthguard is uncomfortable.
If your mouthguard has a visible crack or chip, or bends in a way it shouldn't, it's no longer providing reliable protection - replace it as soon as possible.
Never trade or lend out your custom mouthguard - yours has been created for your mouth specifically and won't work well for another wearer.
Always use the provided case or a specific mouthguard case to protect your mouthguard in transit or storage. This will prevent crushing or cracking of the guard material, and will protect it from dust and debris.
Need a mouthguard for school sports? Make sure to make an appointment before the school sports season starts to ensure your child takes the field or court with a protected smile.
The reason that custom mouthguards are used so often by professional athletes has a great deal to do with their durability and fit. Thankfully, premium construction and fit doesn't require any effort: Dr. Postol's team can measure and determine the perfect fit for your new mouthguard from the comfort of our office. We'll discuss your specific mouthguard needs - some sports or athletic activities may require small differences in design - and present you with options and an estimated time before your mouthguard will be completed.
We suggest contacting our office to make an appointment for a mouthguard fitting, or calling prior to an existing appointment to let us know you'll need one. That way, we'll be able to offer the fast, efficient dental service we're proud to be known for - from cleanings and dental concerns to custom mouthguards ready to protect you through every goal, quarter, mile, or game.
Ready to find the perfect mouthguard for your smile? Contact us today to get started!