Sports Dentistry is all about injury prevention. Mouthguards should be considered as essential as shin guards, helmets, elbow pads, thigh pads, shoulder pads and all the rest. Dental injuries are the most common type of oral facial injuries sustained during participation in sports. In the United States more that 5 million teeth are knocked out each year. Victims of tooth avulsions (teeth knocked out) who do not have the teeth properly preserved or replanted will face lifetime dental costs estimated from $10-15,000 per tooth, the inconvenience of hours spent in the dental chair and possibly other dental problems.
There are numerous considerations to made when designing a mouthguard such as the age, skill level, possible orthodontic therapy, erupting baby teeth, size of teeth etc. This is where the stock or boil-and-bite generic mouthguards that are available at most sporting good stores fall very short in their ability to adequately protect from injury. There are four types of mouthguards stock, boil and bite, vacuum custom made, and pressure laminated custom made. (See Mouthguard Section).
In the traditional contact sports of football, hockey, boxing, and martial arts fitted mouthguards are considered essential. In other sports, traditionally classified as non contact - basketball, baseball, bicycle riding, roller blading, soccer, wrestling, racquetball, surfing and skateboarding also require properly fitted mouthguards, as dental injuries, are a negative aspect of participation in these sports as well.