If you or your kids don't wear a mouthguard for sports or other activities where there's a risk of collision or contact, you risk serious injuries that could need expensive dental treatments or surgery to fix.
Not all mouthguards offer equal protection for teeth. For the best chance of avoiding dental injuries, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends wearing a custom mouthguard made by your dentist rather than a generic product bought from a store.
Do I need a mouthguard?
Some schools and sports clubs now make mouthguards compulsory when playing and training for sports. This doesn't only include obvious contact sports like rugby, soccer and hockey, but any sport or activity where your mouth could be injured by balls, equipment or falling over – including cricket, basketball and skateboarding.
If you don't wear a mouthguard, you or your kids will be at higher risk of dental emergencies such as:
- chipped or cracked teeth
- knocked out teeth
- cut lips, cheeks, gums or tongue
- broken jaw
A mouthguard won't stop accidents from happening, but it can reduce the severity of injuries so you might not need corrective treatments. You should still see your dentist if you have any injuries to your mouth or jaw so they can check for any problems.
Types of mouthguards
There are a few different types of mouthguards, but the main categories are:
- Store-bought mouthguards – solid and 'boil-and-bite' mouthguards bought from sports stores or pharmacies offer less protection than a custom mouthguard and need to be replaced every season. Poorly-fitting mouthguards can be uncomfortable to wear, affect your speech and make it harder to breathe, affecting your performance.
- Custom-fitted mouthguard – a mouthguard designed by your dentist will offer more protection and feel more comfortable to wear, as it fits exactly over your teeth. It can also last longer and won't affect athletic performance. These are the mouthguards recommended by the ADA for all Australians who take part in contact sports or other risky activities.
What to expect with a mouthguard
If you decide to have a custom mouthguard, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and send this off to a dental laboratory. After around a week, your mouthguard will be ready and your dentist will make sure it fits and feels comfortable.
It's important to look after your mouthguard so it won't get damaged or go out of shape. You should clean it after every use and store it somewhere cool and dry. Your can bring your mouthguard along to your regular dental check-ups so your dentist can check that it's still in good condition or order a replacement if needed.
How much does a mouthguard cost?
A custom sports mouthguard in Brisbane from Swish Dental costs from $195, but this varies for each individual. As a preventive treatment, mouthguards are covered by most health insurance that includes dental cover.
Kids and teenagers under 17 are entitled to a free mouthguard if they're eligible for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) and they haven't used up their allowance.
Find out more about mouthguards in Brisbane
If you or your child needs a sports mouthguard, get in touch with our dentists in Everton Park and Mitchelton to find out more and arrange a fitting.
 Australian Dental Association. Getting ready for the new footy season – time to check your mouthguard! [Online] 2018 [Accessed July 2019] Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/News-Media/News-and-Release/Latest-News/Getting-ready-for-the-new-footy-season-%E2%80%93-time-to-c