September 5th, 2014 | Posted in Services | Comments Off on Mouthguards

Why Custom Fabricated Sports Mouthguards?

According to the American Dental Association, more than 200,000 oral injuries are prevented annually in the United States by sports mouthguards. Unfortunately, the National Youth Sports Foundation estimates that more than 5 million teeth will be knocked out in sporting activities this year. These oral traumas will happen to children, high school and college level athletes. In fact, dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial injury sustained during participation in sports.

Dental injuries could be significantly reduced if children, teenagers, and adults wore custom fabricated mouthguards while involved in such activities as football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, baseball, softball, rollerblading, skateboarding, martial arts, boxing, hockey, kickboxing, and mountain biking.

Not All Sports Mouthguards Are Created Equal

Comparing dentist-fitted multi-laminated sports mouthguards with stock or “boil and bite” type mouthguards, typically found in sporting goods stores, reveals significant differences. “Boil and bite” type mouthguards do not fit as accurately as custom fabricated types, so they often go unworn because they’re uncomfortable and frequently interfere with the athlete’s breathing and speaking ability. They may also give a false sense of protection due to the dramatic decrease in thickness when the athlete bites it into place during its softened state. Custom fitted mouthguards, however, have been shown to be far more effective than those offered in sporting goods stores.

Custom mouthpieces are typically considered to be the preferred type of mouthguard and considered to provide the greatest level of mouth protection. These guards can be customized not only related to factors associated with the athlete’s oral anatomy but also in some cases according to the type of sport that the wearer will be participating in.
The fit, comfort, and retention of a custom mouthguard can be expected to be superior to any other type of mouth protector. This means that it can be anticipated that a custom mouthguard will be pleasant to wear and therefore more likely to be worn at all times. The superior retention typically associated with a custom mouthguard implies that it will be less likely to interfere with the wearer’s breathing and speech. These guards can cost several times the amount of a boil and bite or stock mouthguard but this should be considered money that has been well spent.

How does Dr. Smigielski make a custom mouthguard?

Custom mouthguards are made in a dental laboratory on a plaster cast of the athlete’s mouth. Dr. Smigielski will take a dental impression of the patient. This impression is then filled with plaster so to create a replica of the teeth and surrounding gum tissue over which the mouthguard will be fitted. This plaster cast is sent to a dental laboratory where the mouthguard will be fabricated so it accurately fits on the cast. The time frame allowed for the fabrication process can vary but in most cases it will be one to two weeks.

Once the dental laboratory has delivered the completed mouthguard to the Dr. Smigielski’s office the athlete will be scheduled for an appointment so the fit of the custom mouthguard can be evaluated. Dr. Smigielski will refine the fit of the guard as is necessary. The mouthguard is now ready to be used.


An early mouthguard was developed in 1890 by Woolf Krauze, a London dentist to protect boxers from lip cuts and lacerations. The modern mouthguard design started from the work in the 1970s done by Dr. A. W. S. Wood, a Canadian pediatric dentist who was aiming to reduce and prevent harm injuries to children’s teeth in ice hockey games.

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