If you play contact sports it is always best to wear a gum shield to protect your teeth in the event of them getting hit.
Trauma to your upper incisor teeth is extremely painful when the event happens and can result in significant damage to the teeth which can have a negative effect on your appearance and could mean you having to have many hours of dental treatment to have fillings, root canal treatments, perhaps extraction, bridge or implant placement. Needless to say, the more extensive the treatment you require, the more it will cost you in time and in money – you could end up spending many thousands of pounds over your lifetime, all because of one accident. If you wear a fixed orthodontic appliance and do not wear a gum shield, if your teeth are hit, the brace will give some support to your teeth but the advice given by dental professional bodies is to wear a gum shield for contact sports when you are having orthodontic treatment.
If your brace is removable then you can take your brace out and put in your gum shield while playing the contact sport. Make sure you put your brace in your gum shield box and as soon as you have finished your sport, place your brace back in your mouth.
If your brace is fixed to your teeth you will require an orthodontic gum shield. There are two features specific to an orthodontic gum shield which are not found in regular (non-orthodontic) gum shields:
- It fits over the brace and will not pull the brace off when it is being inserted or removed
- It has space inside it to allow the teeth to move It is extremely important that the gum shield will allow the teeth to move, otherwise your orthodontic treatment will be slowed down or simply may not work.
Gum shields may be custom made (i.e made to fit a specific patient) or generic (i.e can be adapted to fit any patient, often called “boil and bite”).
To have a custom made gum shield your dentist or orthodontist will need to take an impression of your top teeth. This is usually sent to a dental laboratory where the technician will make a model of your teeth and make your gum shield on the model of the teeth. If you wear a fixed orthodontic appliance, it is best if the upper arch wire is removed before the impression is taken and replaced immediately afterwards.
There is a limited number of generic gum shields that are suitable for wearing with orthodontic braces (eg SISU, Shock Doctor, Opro Shield). At Armagh Orthodontic Clinic we recommend and provide SISU gum shields http://www.sisuguard.com/. SISU mouth guards were developed in the USA by an ENT surgeon and were popular in many American contact sports before making their way to Europe. The modern technology used in SISU gum shields means that they absorb the energy in an impact and give superior protection to the teeth relative to other “boil and bite” mouth guards. In addition they are comfortable, can be kept in while drinking and talking and can be re-moulded multiple times while your teeth move.In addition they are comfortable, can be kept in while drinking and talking and can be re-moulded multiple times while your teeth move.
The SISU company has such confidence in the protection that their gum shields offer that they provide an insurance with their gum shields to pay for the cost of treatment if a dental injury occurred while a properly-fitted SISU mouth guard was being worn.
If you wear a fixed orthodontic appliance, the first fitting of your SISU gum shield should be carried out by an orthodontist.
Armagh Orthodontic Clinic stocks SISU gum shields and can be purchased by anybody (price £25). We will also fit them for free for our patients.