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 cushion the upper teeth. A mouth protector creates a wall between your braces and your cheeks. Make sure the mouth guard properly fits to your mouth while you are wearing it, making it easy to talk and breathe.
There are three types of mouth protectors:
- Stock – 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 can make breathing and talking difficult.
- Boil and 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 – 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 about selecting a mouth protector that works best for you. Although mouth protectors typically only cover the upper teeth, your dentist 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.