To the hockey community
There have been several incidents of dental trauma on the hockey fields this season due to accidental contact to the face. It is a timely reminder to start thinking about the quality of the mouthguard you or your child have been wearing while playing hockey.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends a custom fitted mouthguard for all Australians who participate in contact sports. A custom fitted mouthguard that has been designed by your dentist makes breathing better and speaking a lot easier and a lot more comfortable than their “boil and bite” counterparts. These are mouthguards that you can purchase from a chemist or a sports store, and they offer very little protection as they are ill fitting and loose in the mouth, which can be dangerous during impact and could contribute to an upper jaw fracture.
Custom fitted mouthguards are superior to over the counter mouthguards and are made from a dental impression and a plaster model of your teeth.
Children usually require a new mouthguard each season due to growth and development and if you have a private health fund, a mouthguard can be claimed every year until they are fully grown.
There are three types of custom fitted mouthguards:
• single laminate,
• double laminate,
• triple laminate.
A general guide for which mouthguard is right for you:
• Children with deciduous (baby) teeth, are best with a single laminate mouthguard.
• Children with a mixed dentition of some deciduous and permanent teeth, who play senior hockey are recommended to have a double laminate mouthguard.
• Teenagers with full permanent dentition and adults who play hockey should have a triple laminate mouthguard constructed. A triple laminate mouthguard is made up of three layers, with the middle layer being reinforced.
It is also recommended that teenagers with braces should have a custom fitted mouthguard which can be fitted over the top of braces. The mouthguard is usually able to be adjusted as the teeth move for the duration of the orthodontic treatment or may require a second mouthguard to be constructed if orthodontic treatment is over a longer period.
Once you have your full permanent adult dentition you can usually have multiple seasons out of a custom fitted mouthguard.
Please check the fit and comfort of your and your child’s mouthguard and contact your dentist to have a consult with regards to the best mouthguard for you in time for the next hockey season.
Liz Smith, Dental Therapist
David Peters, Dentist