Sports dentistry involves treating injuries to the mouth, teeth or jaws that are sustained by athletes, and fitting patients with custom mouthguards to prevent injuries from occurring. Dental mouthguards are an important piece of athletic equipment for nearly all athletes. Mouthguards protect the teeth, cheeks, lips, tongue and jaws from injury when engaging in activities that have a risk of falls or injuries from contact with other players or equipment. A mouthguard can also stabilize the temporomandibular joints and reduce the likelihood of these joints being injured.
In some sports, mouthguards are required by the sport’s governing body. Students who participate in high school sports including football, lacrosse, and hockey are required to wear mouthguards. Many junior league sports also require their use.
Mouthguards are made of a flexible clear plastic. While they can be purchased in stores, a custom-fitted mouthguard is more comfortable. Mouthguards you purchase in stores usually require a process of boiling the mouthguard, emerging it in cold water, and then putting it in your mouth to mold it into the shape of your mouth and teeth. If it doesn’t work the first time, you have to go through the entire process again until it fits. Having our Washington DC dentist fit you with a custom mouthguard ensures that it will be comfortable and effective in preventing injuries. Dentist-made mouthguards are considered to be the best type.
Some people will experience a gag reflex when they first use a mouthguard. In time, as your body gets used to the mouthguard being in place, the gagging should stop. In fact, people who have a problem with gagging that they want to eliminate often use mouthguards as a way to gradually train themselves not to gag.