Sports mouth guards available at Sheppard dental clinic

  • Published
  • By Capt. Wah-Yung Tsang
  • 82nd Dental Squadron
Did you know that 95 percent of all football concussions are transmitted to the brain through the lower jaw? It's been estimated that during any single season an athlete participating in a contact sport runs about a 10 percent chance of experiencing some sort of orofacial injury. According to, this totals to more than 5 million teeth being knocked out each year during sports activities.

The Sheppard Dental Clinic is able to provide sports mouth guards for active-duty Air Force members participating in contact sports. Sports mouth guards protect your mouth's hard and soft tissues from damage in case of traumatic impact that can otherwise lead to concussions and brain injuries.

There are three types of sports mouth guards: stock, boil-and-bite, and custom. All guards are made of plastic, but they differ in design, composition and method of fabrication.

Stock mouth guards are poor fitting and rarely recommended. They usually come in sizes small, medium and large. They must be clenched between the teeth to stay in place, and this clenching activity can make it difficult for you to speak and breathe. This makes it uncomfortable to wear.

A boil-and-bite mouth guard is made out of thermoplastic materials. They are easily available, at minimal cost, at many retail outlets and can be considered do-it-yourself mouth guards. You can customize the fit of the mouth guard by immersing it in hot water and subsequently mold the guard with fingers, lips, tongue, cheeks and biting pressure. The retention of this type of mouth guard can be expected to be better than a stock guard.

Custom mouth guards are made on a plaster cast replica of your actual teeth, so they fit extremely well and are very retentive. This type of guard, if designed well, is able to provide the greatest level of protection with less interference to speech and breathing compared to either a stock or boil-and-bite guard. The comfort of a custom mouth guard is also superior. While a minimal amount of time is required to make a custom mouth guard, it is worth the wait, as it will provide excellent protection.

If you require a mouth guard, please call the Sheppard Dental Clinic at 676-4474 to schedule an appointment.