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It's only fun until somebody loses a tooth.

Protect your smile with a custom-made mouth guard.

Did you know that more than five million teeth are knocked out each year in North America, many during sporting events? In fact, dental injuries are the most common type of injury to the face sustained during participation in sports — especially practices. The loss of a single tooth can be costly and cause teeth and jaw problems that will last over a person's lifetime. A custom made mouth guard is an important part of your equipment for these and many other sports: acrobatics, bandy, baseball, basketball, cycling, discus, equestrian, field hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, horseback riding, ice hockey, in-line skating, judo, karate, lacrosse, martial arts, motocross, parachuting, racquetball, ringette, rugby, shot put, skateboarding, skiing, soccer, squash, surfing, tennis, trampoline, volleyball, water polo, weight lifting, wrestling.

Patients with braces are still able to wear mouth guards — in fact a mouth guard will help prevent your wires/bands from breaking during a game and will also prevent your lips and gums from imbedding in the braces after a blow. Even if you have few or no natural teeth remaining you should still wear a mouth guard to cushion blows (you should not wear orthodontic retainers or dentures when participating in contact sports).

There are several kinds of mouthguards to choose from.

Stock ready to wear guards
These kinds of mouth guards are inexpensive but often impair speech or breathing and may be difficult to wear, as the athlete must bite down on the guard to hold it in place.

Boil and bite guards
These kinds of guards, though better formed than stock guards, are often bulky and don't fit particularly well, causing problems with speech and breathing.

Custom mouth guards
Custom guards are usually made by vacuum or pressure forming a polyvinyl mold guard over a stone model of the athlete's teeth. Though somewhat more expensive than other guards, these custom made guards provided better protection, comfort and fit. Available from your dentist, these superior guards ensure that the athlete's speech and breathing are not impaired. For elite athletes, a heat laminated mouthguard provides even greater protection.

Why should I wear a custom-made mouth guard? When used together with a helmet and facemask, a custom-made mouth guard will greatly reduce injuries to the head and neck. A custom-made mouth guard will protect your jaw joint or prevent concussions by acting as a cushion for your lower jaw. It will reduce the incidence of jaw fracture, protect the soft tissue of your mouth, like the lips, tongue, cheek, and gums, and lessen the chances of breaking your front teeth by about 90%.

For your custom mouthguard, talk to your dentist. We care about you and your teeth.

This information courtesy of your Manitoba Dentist.