Tips on Fitting a Mouthguard
The American Dental Association promotes the use of mouthguards and their inclusion in protective sporting gear from an early age. A properly fitted mouthguard will provide the protection you need, making the game much safer and more comfortable while improving your overall performance. If your mouthguard is fitted incorrectly, it can fall out during a game and leave you vulnerable.
If you’ve got your mouthguard and your instructions handy, you’ve gone through all of the steps, but you can’t seem to get the right fit, don’t worry.
Fitting a mouthguard can be a bit tricky, and given that the safety of your teeth is at stake, you want to get it right. If you’ve purchased a custom mouthguard, most likely it has already been fitted for you, but the standard boil-and-bite models require some effort on your part to get the perfect fit. Let’s go over some tips on fitting a mouthguard to make your life a little easier:
- Before fitting your mouthguard, make sure to brush! If you’ve just finished a meal and have a bunch of food stuck between your teeth, the mold of your mouthguard will be altered. Always fit your mouthguard with clean teeth.
- Make sure to use a spoon to remove your mouthguard from the boiling water just before putting it in your mouth. Using tongs or other items can warp the mouthguard, making it difficult to get a perfect fit.
- Use a mirror while inserting the mouthguard to help line it up with the centerline of your upper teeth. Any deviation in this step will result in a poor fit that requires you to start all over.
- If you find that your mouthguard isn’t molding or warping easily, it probably needs to boil a little longer. While most mouthguards require 45 seconds of exposure to boiling water, some materials might require more time to soften sufficiently.
- Don’t allow the mouthguard to cool off for too long before putting it in your mouth to fit it. The mouthguard should feel warm, but not warm enough to burn your mouth.
- Once you place the warm mouthguard inside your mouth, clench your teeth and bite down hard on the mouthguard.
- You should aspirate against the mouthguard to force it to mold to your teeth, then use your fingers to press the edges of it closer to your gums for a tight fit. If you do this correctly, the mouthguard should not fall out of your teeth very easily. You should have to use your hands to remove it.
- If you have to bite or clench the mouthguard constantly to keep it in the right place, repeat the fitting process again. Constantly readjusting your mouthguard during a game can hinder your performance by distracting your attention away from your position.
- Your teeth and gums should be completely covered by the mouthguard. Don’t forget that your gums are susceptible to lacerations in contact sports. Make sure the mouthguard is fitted to cover them, also.
- Unless your mouthguard covers the roots of your teeth completely, your teeth are still at risk of being avulsed.
- After you get the right fit, drop your mouthguard into ice water to help it firm up. Once the mouthguard has cooled completely, put it in your mouth and test for a good fit. If you’re unsatisfied with the fit, you should repeat the process again until it is to your liking.
Purchasing a mouthguard case from Shock Doctor is a great idea to help preserve the shape of your mouthguard. A storage case will also serve to shield your mouthguard from bacteria that can cause odor or degradation.