If your child is getting old enough to play team sports, you'll want to talk to your dentist about using a mouth guard to protect your child's teeth. A guard is very important because it can keep a tooth from being knocked out and it can also prevent cuts and other mouth injuries from a fall or hit in the face. Here are some things to know about getting a mouth guard for your child.
A Custom Mouth Guard Is Best
Your dentist can make a custom mouth guard that fits your child's mouth perfectly. This makes the guard more effective and more comfortable to wear. A custom guard is also important when your child wears braces or has a dental condition that needs protection. Custom mouth guards fit so well that they don't interfere with speaking or breathing and that leads to better compliance in wearing the guard when necessary.
The alternatives to custom guards made by a dentist are mouth guards you buy at a sporting goods store. These are in stock shapes and sizes so getting a good fit is not possible. They are usually uncomfortable, and they can make it difficult to speak when wearing them. A better alternative is a mouth guard that can be shaped to fit the mouth better. These are made of plastic that can be molded when the mouth guard is boiled. While the plastic is soft, it is placed in the mouth and pressed against the teeth for a close fit. While these are better than stock sizes, they are still inferior to custom guards made by a dentist.
The Guard Should Be Changed As Your Child Grows
Once you have a custom mouth guard made, be sure to take it to the dentist each time your child has a wellness exam. The dentist will check for proper fit and make a new guard when necessary. Your child's mouth will continue to change as he or she grows and the mouth guard needs to change as well in order to remain effective and safe. While a custom guard is made from durable materials that last a long time, it will still be necessary to change it based on how quickly your child outgrows the old guard.
You may worry about your child once he or she starts playing team sports, and minor injuries will probably happen. When your child wears a well-fitting mouth guard, you can at least have peace of mind his or her teeth are protected as well as possible.