A gum-shield is an appliance you wear in your mouth if you play a sport that involves contact to the mouth e.g. rugby, soccer, boxing, hockey etc. The first report of gum-shields being worn was in boxing in 1913, even then it was realised that this simple device reduced the incidence of knock-outs following blows to the jaw. Gum-shields are also know as sports-guards or mouth-guards. They are designed to protect the teeth and surrounding tissues from trauma. It does this by absorbing the pressure of the trauma and distributes it evenly over the whole jaw minimising the risk of injury. In addition it will also protect the lips and cheeks from laceration against the teeth.
There are different types of gum shields but the 3 main categories are:
Off the shelf gum-shields which are ready to use, can be used a temporary while waiting for a custom made gum-shield. Unfortunately they are a poor fit as they are designed to fit all mouths which are not all the same! They easily drop out and are sometimes uncomfortable to wear.
Boil to fit gum-shields. These are made of thermoplastic material and can be softened in boiling water then put into the mouth to shape. They are better than off the shelf ones due to the fit, again they can fall out easily and can be a bit fiddly to mould.
Custom made gum-shields are the gold standard gum-shield. They offer the best protection as they are made to fit exactly to the patients teeth. Numerous studies have shown between 80 and 90 percent reduction in dental injuries by wearing a custom made gum-shield. They remain fixed, never wear out and are tough enough to resist the toughest blows. They come in a variety of colours, stripes and checks.
Come along to see us at Creative Smiles so our staff can advise which gum-shield is best for you!