Anyone participating in contact sport should consider a mouth guard. It’s rare now, to see anyone playing football, rugby or hockey not wearing one. The earliest known use of a gum shields was in a boxing contest in 1913. Even then it was seen that this simple device reduced the risk of damage to teeth. But as well as shielding teeth, these guards also protect the soft tissue surrounding the teeth including the lips and cheeks.
There are 3 different types of gum shield;
1. Shelf Bought
You can buy mouth guards off the shelf, but these are likely to be a poor fit and therefore less effective. They can fall out easily if they don’t fit properly and can be uncomfortable to wear. I’d suggest the only use for these cheap off the shelf guards is as a temporary measure, whilst waiting for a custom gum shield to be made by a reputable dental surgery (such as Kirriemuir Dental Practice or Vita Dental Spa).
2. Boil to Fit
A slight improvement on the generic shelf bought mouth guards are the “Boil to fit” gum-shields. These are made of a special type of plastic that is softened when placed in boiling water. Once softened, the gum shield is then put in the mouth and will reshape slightly to fit the contours of the teeth and jaw, as the plastic returns to room temperature.
3. Custom Made
If you are looking for maximum protection whilst out on the field, then opt for a custom made mouth shield. Some dentists, such as Vita Dental Spa and Kirriemuir Dental, offer this as a service and you should expect to pay anywhere between £40 and £80 for a properly fitting mouth guard. The benefit of having a custom made gum shield is that it will be moulded to the exact shape of your teeth thus offering maximum possible protection. Whilst the price for this type of protection is greater than either of the first two types mentioned, the cost outlay is considerably less than the price you’d have to pay for a restorative dental treatment if you are unfortunate enough to get a damaging blow to the jaw in your chosen sport. A custom fitted guard can reduce injuries by 80% to 90% so when compared price wise to other sporting essentials such as boots, clothing and other equipment, the cost is actually quite reasonable and a worthwhile investment in your personal safety. Custom fitted guards even come in a variety of colours and stripes so you can opt for your club colours if you so desire! If you require further advice on having a custom mouth guard fitted, I recommend contacting the team at Kirriemuir Dental Practice on 01575 572711 if you live in Angus and the team at Vita Dental Spa on 01382 530060 if you live in Dundee.
Natalie joined The Best Of team in November 2013 as their new marketing assistant. Natalie has an undergraduate degree in law and a postgraduate degree in management. In her spare time she enjoys horse...