Sports Guards


People play sports and have a great time…until they have a sports injury. I still remember the smiles of hockey players after games with lots of front teeth missing. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen a hockey player make a shaving cream commercial!

What should athletes do to protect their teeth? A sports guard is an appliance that someone wears while playing their sport. These can be a stock variety which is purchased in a drug store, brought home and fitted, usually after placing the material in boiling water. Another kind, a custom made guard, is made by the dentist taking impressions and using a dental lab to fabricate a guard. This is then custom fitted with the bite checked and any areas of extra pressure located and relieved for comfort. The custom made guards typically last longer. On all of these, I give 2 warnings: don’t leave these out of the case for your pets to chew (you’ll need a new one), and don’t leave these in hotel rooms when travelling. These seem to be the 2 biggest problems I’ve noticed.

The down side to sports injuries to the teeth is substantial. On the less sever end, people chip teeth and need cosmetic fillings to bond to the teeth. If bad enough, they will need root canals for nerve damage as a result of the trauma. In really bad cases, as in many hockey players, the tooth or teeth that break are no longer salvageable and have to be removed. At least dentistry has come far enough along to handle these situations. But, isn’t it easier to just wear a sports guard and minimize or all together avoid the damage to your teeth?

There is a great article in Wikipedia on the history of the bite guard which you might find interesting. Go to: