Any contact sport carries the risk of injury, and if you are an athlete, you need to understand that risk before you take to the field. Yet you also need to mitigate as much as possible and take steps to avoid the worst trauma by using the right equipment. Crucially, you need to protect your mouth and jaw as these are some of the most vulnerable areas of the body in a situation like this. But why do you need to make sure that your mouthguard, in particular, has the correct fit?
Is a mouthguard meant to protect your teeth in the event of a collision, or is it designed to do a lot more? Some people think that such a device is simply meant to protect the surface of the teeth, and specifically, the enamel, from a direct blow. Yet an impact can be so severe that it may not just dislodge the teeth but also cause injury to the surrounding area.
If you're hit by a ball or a bat then this could cause damage to the TMJ, as the lower and upper jaw come together. The jaw could fracture altogether if you're unfortunate to receive a direct hit from below. This can often happen in a sport like rugby where an opponent may be below you, but may quickly and inadvertently rise up.
Absorbing the Energy
In all of these situations, a correctly fitted mouthguard can be a great help. It will cushion the impact and disperse much of the energy to other areas of the mouth, and as it does so, it will reduce the direct shock to the crucial joints or the TMJ. This may be sufficient to avoid an injury that will require medical attention.
Protecting the Teeth
Of course, the mouthguard will also protect the teeth and will form a barrier between the upper and lower set. Should your tongue be in the wrong place at the wrong time, this may help to avoid any puncture wound.
Nevertheless, it's crucial to ensure that the mouthguard is custom-made for you individually. It must fit the structure of the mouth carefully and stay in place during any impact. Otherwise, the guard itself could cause some damage as it moves and comes into contact with the gums or other areas.
First Things First
Before you think about taking to the field to enjoy the rough-and-tumble of your chosen sport, ensure that you talk with a professional dentist. They will take your exact measurements and design your custom mouthguard.
For more information about sports mouthguards, contact a local dentist today.