When playing any sport that has a significant risk of injury, everyone should wear a mouth protector, especially those that wear braces or have dental work. Mouth protectors can help prevent major injury, such as broken teeth, in the mouth by cushioning the upper teeth. If you wear braces or another fixed dental appliance on your lower jaw, your dentist may suggest a mouth protector for these teeth as well. A mouth protector creates a wall between your braces and your cheeks protecting your braces from damaging soft tissue. Make sure the mouth guard properly fits while you are wearing it, making it easy to talk and breath. There are three types of mouth protectors:
Stock mouth protectors are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and make breathing and talking very difficult.
Boil & Bite
Boil and bite mouth protectors also can be bought at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They should be softened in water, then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. If you don’t follow the directions carefully, you can wind up with a poor-fitting mouth protector.
Custom-fitted mouth protectors are made by your dentist for you personally. They are more expensive than the other versions, but because they are customized they can offer a better fit than anything you can buy off the shelf. Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about selecting a mouth protector that works best for you. Although mouth protectors typically only cover the upper teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest that you use a mouth protector on the lower teeth if you have braces on these teeth too. Any removable appliance or retainer should be removed when playing any contact sport.