People who play contact sports or engage in activities with fast moving objects run a higher risk of damaging their teeth and gums. With contact sports only rising in popularity, it is strongly advised that patients of all ages protect their mouth – especially during treatment periods. Here are 8 facts you should know about gum shields, otherwise known as mouth guards, and how to properly use and care for them.
1. Mouthguards are odourless, tasteless and pliable devices made to protect your teeth and gums, especially when wearing braces.
2. There are three types of shields:
a) Stock mouth guards: a pre-formed impression is manufactured and sold off the shelf in stores without any custom adjustments
b)“Boil and bite” mouth guard: made of a material that is moulded to fit your mouth after boiling. Boil and bite guards can also be purchased off the shelf at your local pharmacy.
c)Custom-made shields: your Orthodontist will make an exact impression of your bite using dental putty. This is the best fitting guard but may need to be changed as your teeth shift during treatment.
3. Gumshields prevent cuts to the mouth from braces and significantly reduce dental injuries.
4. As strong as your braces may be, high impact contact may also damage your braces. Using a guard helps ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your braces treatment.
5. It is important to wear gumshields as some dental plans may not cover for sports-related mouth damage.
6. When choosing a mouth guard, regardless of type, it should be comfortable and well fit, and its material should be approximately 4mm thick.
7.To ensure proper gumshield maintenance, use a toothbrush and cold water to clean after each use. An occasional wash is also beneficial. Be sure to rinse the guard thoroughly.
8.To store your device, use a container that allows air to circulate. Avoid keeping it near hot temperatures such as heated water or direct sunlight, so as not to distort the device’s shape.
After choosing your braces treatment, consult with your orthodontist about the best type of gumshield for you. Request an appointment with Beam Ortho here: http://www.beamortho.com/request-an-appointment/