Protecting Your Smile While Playing Sports

April is the National Facial Protection Month, and we want to spread awareness on how to be better protected when playing sports. Athletes participating in contact sports have 10% chance of sustaining significant oral-facial injury each season and about 50% chance during their secondary school careers, according to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA). Aside from helmets and faceguards, sports mouthguards play a key role in making it a safer experience. Mouthguards not only help reduce the risk of concussions, but also the chances of damaged or knocked-out teeth – a simple fall can cause a chipped, bent-in or loosened tooth! They typically cover only the upper teeth and act as a protective cushion to the mouth.

Mouthguards are used most commonly in contact sports, including boxing, football, hockey, and lacrosse. Yet, they can also be beneficial for non-contact sports including bike-riding, basketball, gymnastics, and skateboarding. According to the American Dental Association, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer damage to the teeth without mouth protection.  Each sport is different, and thus requires various styles of mouthguards. Based on the type of sport, individuals can seek the help of a dentist to guarantee the specific mouthguard thickness and satisfactory protection in impacted areas.

When choosing a mouthguard, select one that will be retentive and not-easily shifted when impacted. Mouthguards should be regularly examined professionally to ensure proper function. It needs replacement if tears develop or it becomes loose, which could negatively effect teeth and oral tissues. The cost to fix a damaged tooth can be much more expensive than investing in a mouth guard before engaging in sports!

There are three types of mouthguards, which include the “stock,” “boil-and-bite,” and the “custom-fit” mouthguard.

Stock mouthguard
Ready to wear mouthgaurds that are available in one size. They are the least expensive, can be found at an average sports store. However, they are also not very durable, which can lead to chipped teeth or other oral injuries.

Boil-and-bite mouthguard
This style of mouthguards is slightly expensive and can be bought at a general store. They are dipped in boiled water and then molded to the upper teeth while you bite them for about a minute. While boil-and-bite mouthguards offer a better fit, they often make breathing and speaking hard.

Custom-fit mouthguard
Tailored to fit each individual’s mouth, cutom-fit mouthguards are the most comfortable and resilient mouthguard, especially for those with braces. A custom-fit mouthguard is more effective than a store-bought mouthguard because it is proven to be more protective, according to the American Dental Association 

A mouthguard made by a dental professional can also tailor the mouthguard to the demands of the athlete and the sport. Speech and bite requirements as well as relative dental and concussion injury risk management for each sport can only be customized by fabricating an individual mouthguard. It is difficult to see how an over- the-counter mouthguard can fill all of an athlete’s requirements without being checked and adjusted by an informed dental professional. Academy for Sports Dentistry.


The custom-fit mouthguard is designed in three steps:

1) Quick dental exam and consultation that includes questions about the sport played, team colors/logo and any additional customization requests.
2) Teeth molds/scans, followed by manufacturing of the mouthguard over the following 3-4 days.
3) Delivery visit, proper fit assurance and care instructions.

Now your smile is protected like never before, and you are ready to show your best on the play field! You can’t lose with a mouthguard! Good luck!


P.S.: Wellesley Dental Group in proud to be working on the “Protecting Our Athletes” initiative in collaboration with Wellesley High School Athletics. Mr. John Brown, WHS Athletic Director, and Patty Hickey, WHS  Athletic Trainer, are partnering up with us to help spread awareness and setting up raffles for each local sports teams for free custom sports mouthguards.

Patty Hickey says that the athletes who are exposed to custom fit mouth guards often comment on the superior fit that offers excellent protection, allows to communicate on the field easily and does not inhibit breathing during intense exercise.

To get a custom-fit sports mouthguard or for more information, please feel free to contact us at or call 781-237-9071.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *