As the old saying goes, “Work hard, play harder.”
Of course, if you play too hard, you can get seriously hurt: on the court, field or pitch. It’s important to make sure that you’re protected from potentially serious injuries, so you use a lot of equipment to make sure of it. Helmets and pads for football (this is Houston, TX, after all), shinguards for soccer, and batting helmets for baseball.
It only makes sense to wear safety equipment to protect your head and your body. So why do so few people wear mouthguards?
If you’ve ever worn a store-bought mouthguard, the reason is pretty straightforward. Store-bought mouthguards are uncomfortable because they don’t fit well, and if you’ve ever worn one in the heat of competition, they don’t really seem like they’d do much to stop you from getting hurt anyway. We see a lot of injured teeth in our practice as a result.
That’s why we’re happy to announce the latest edition to our menu of services: custom mouthguards are now available at Precision Dental of Houston! We can make you a mouthguard that is designed specifically to fit your teeth and made from high-performance materials: a winning combination that will keep your teeth safe no matter what your game!
Is there really a difference between a custom-made mouthguard and something I can buy in the store?
Absolutely! Custom-mouthguards are far superior than store-bought mouthguards in terms of fit, durability, and even style. We can make a mouthguard just for your specific teeth that will do two important things that a mass-produced mouthguard can’t:
A custom mouthguard is comfortable, so you’ll actually wear it
When you wear it, you can compete with confidence, knowing that if you do (for instance) catch a big center’s elbow to the face while you’re in the paint, your teeth will be protected.
Why should I wear a mouthguard in the first place?
As we said earlier, you wear safety equipment to protect all the other parts of your body, so why not your teeth? Don’t take our word for it, though. Since we’re talking about sports, let’s take a look at some (sobering) statistics:
Every year in the US, 5 million teeth are avulsed; that’s the technical term for broken.
In terms of dental bills, that comes to an estimated $500 million each and every year.
Sports injuries make up about 40% of all dental injuries!
Keep in mind to that after you’ve seriously injured a tooth, it won’t get better after just one emergency visit to your dentist. In fact, it will actually get worse. A broken tooth will have negative consequences for years after your injury. Broken teeth are much more likely to develop infections and other diseases, and completely repairing a broken tooth can require hours in the dentists chair as you undergo complicated, lengthy, and uncomfortable procedures (even though we do a lot to keep that under control).
This is an especially important message for parents with young athletes:
If your child breaks his or her tooth during a game, that childhood injury will very likely haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Stacking Up the Competition
Store-bought mouthguards are ineffective and uncomfortable, but they remain popular and on store shelves because they are so cheap! The average cost of a mouthguard that you can find in a retail sporting goods shop is about $5 to $10. It’s a fairly seductive deal, especially if you’re a parent who has just shelled out a lot of cash for safety equipment already.
So what’s the actual value of that cheap-o mouthguard? Let’s take a look.
One-Size-Fits-All is okay for a free hat on “Free Hat Day” at Minute Maid Park, but when it comes to something that’s supposed to protect you from getting hurt it might as well be One-Size-Fits-Nobody.
Stock mouthguards are the cheapest kind of mouthguard you can buy, and they’re usually near the bottom end of the $5 to $10 range.
They cost so little because they cost nothing to make.
Stock mouthguards all look exactly the same. Usually made of flimsy plastic, they resemble the dental trays that are used to take an impression of your teeth, and if you’ve ever had one of those in your mouth, you know how that feels. Stock mouthguards are essentially a little plastic trough that’s bent into an arch-shape that vaguely resembles the layout of human teeth. “Vaguely resembles” sure doesn’t sound like a good fit to us! Fit is very important when it comes to a mouthguard, because it needs to be comfortable, and a mouthguard that slides around will not only fail to protect your teeth, they can even cause injuries on their own!
These are a tiny bit better than stock mouthguards, but the difference is pretty insignificant. Boil-and-Bite mouthguards have been around since the sixties, and they do offer at least a watered-down version of customization. Most people are familiar with how boil-and-bite mouthguards, but in case you aren’t:
Put water on to boil, and drop the mouthguard in the boiling water; this will soften the plastic. Remove the mouthguard from the water, and after it cools a little, you put it in your mouth and bite down hard so it creates an impression of your teeth. Run cold water under it so the mouthguard will solidify, and try it on. If it doesn’t fit right, repeat the process until it does.
Here again the sweetness of low cost is lost to the bitterness of low quality: over time, that plastic will change shape in your mouth, and it will lose the fit it might have had when you first put it on. As we’ve said before: fit is important to mouthguards. Also, some parents out there might have observed this: kids love to chew boil-and-bite mouthguards. So even if your kid wears the mouthguard like they’re supposed to, all that chewing weakens the plastic, ruins the fit, and offers no protection at all after only a few weeks (if that long).
A Mouthguard is an Investment
Look at it this way: you either can pay a little more for your mouthguard (or your child’s mouthguard) today, or you could stick with the cheap, one-size-fits-all option and risk paying a lot more in dental bills later.
Make an appointment today! At Precision Dental of Houston, we’ll make you a custom mouthguard. The mouthguard we make for you will fit you better than any other protective gear you might have, because it is made to fit your teeth exactly. We make the mouthguards from premium, high-performance materials that you can count on to protect your teeth, and we can even add your personal style, with your favorite sports team’s logo!