Researchers from Brazil recently tested the effectiveness of customized mouthguards against off-the-shelf mouthguards. As the Sacramento Dentistry Group has often stated, customized mouthguards proved to be significantly better at safely distributing stresses that might otherwise have broken teeth. Both types of mouthguards, however, were found far better than no mouthguard at all.
How to Study Mouthguards
Since testing the limits of mouthguards on human subjects would be a painful and dangerous exercise, the researchers used carefully constructed models of the human skull with teeth inserted into the model. Models were then struck with a steel ball to simulate the effect of a collision on a canine tooth at various forces, all the way up to 500 newtons of force. That’s the equivalent of having approximately fifty one-liter water bottles dropped on you simultaneously and in one spot, so it’s a significant amount of force. Forces greater than this, however, can be experienced in various contact sports like football, boxing, and martial arts, or when an athlete collides with a hard surface.
What the scientists found was that in facial collisions, the teeth will break even before the bones of the skull! Mouthguards help to dissipate the forces of a collision, so that the teeth are not damaged by the effects. This does not mean that the force is then sent to the bones, causing greater damage there, but instead that the mouthguard absorbs a portion of the force experienced during the collision. Therefore, the thicker the mouthguard, the better it does its job at cushioning the teeth.
Besides thicker being better, custom-made mouthguards also do an even better job at protecting the teeth and jawbones from damaging forces. They are less likely to pop loose during a collision, thus doing their job correctly throughout the entire process. And their better fit ensures a greater dispersal of the forces generated by the hit.
Which Costs More?
Although a custom mouthguard costs more than a generic purchased at a sporting goods store, the difference in performance is worth the difference in dollars when you consider the cost of replacing a lost tooth or repairing a broken jawbone. The Sacramento Dentistry Group makes a wide variety of customized mouthguards, based on your individual sport, preferences and needs. For more information, contact us online or by calling 916-538-6900.