Fabrication of Sport Guards

by Dr. Nadia Abazarnia

The American College of Prosthodontists recommends the use of custom-made mouth guards (sport guards) to better protect the teeth and jaws from trauma during athletic activity.

A sport mouth guard is an appliance that is prescribed to an athlete to protect his teeth from being damaged from a physical blow to the face or an accident. A sport mouth guard is usually made with a thicker material and given its purpose it is made to extend to cover the entire jaw, even the gum so that the entire mouth can be protected.

When an athlete has his mouth guards made, he can make a decision to incorporate his team colors with the appliance or even the team logo or sign.  

Steps in fabrication of custom made mouthguard (sport guard)

Step 1: Impression Taking. It is recommended that dentists produce casts from accurate maxillary and mandibular alginate impressions and a centric occlusion registration at approximately 5-mm opening anteriorly.

This is made possible by taking an impression of the mouth. A negative copy of the upper and lower teeth is taken, so that a plaster cast can be created from it. The cast is also called the model cast or mould and it is used by the dental laboratory to make the custom sport guard.

Step 2: Sport Guard Fabrication. Several options in the manufacture of custom-made mouth guards are available with respect to materials and developed techniques. The standard thickness is 4-mm for most contact sports.  The dental mould plays a key role in how the guard is fabricated.  The material is shaped around the mould to form a perfect-fitting protective barrier for upper and lower teeth.  

Step 3: Delivery. As soon as the sport guards have been fabricated, they are delivered to the patients along with proper instructions for wear and care.

The sport mouth guards that are commercially sold and made available in sports stores are different from the custom-made appliances offered by your dentist.  They’re not only uncomfortable to wear but also not as effective.  While a sport mouth guard may offer some protection in the case of teeth grinding, it is not the idea solution: both the material and the shape are different to serve a different purpose.

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