What are gum shields?
Gum shields or sports/mouth guards cover the whole surface of the teeth to provide cushioning, helping to prevent trauma caused by sports such as rugby, hockey, cricket and boxing. A specially made gum shield will be invaluable in protecting your teeth during sporting activities.
Often patients will attend dental surgeries with chips, fractures and often dislodged or even lost teeth, caused by sports injury or accidental damage. It is very important to protect your teeth from damage caused by sports injury. This is easily done by wearing a gum shield. A gum shield is a coated protective layer covering the teeth and gums providing support to knocks and blows to the face.
The guard is easily made by your dentist and dental laboratory, and is available in a variety of shades, patterns and designs in order to suit your team colours. You can design your sports guard with your dentist at the impression stage. The laboratory technician will then create your bespoke design and deliver it ready to be fitted at a subsequent appointment.
How is a gum shield made?
Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth which will then be sent away to the dental laboratory, where a specially made close fitting gum shield will be created.
The impression is taken by placing a mouth tray filled with the impression material over your upper teeth and gums, after a few moments the material sets firm and leaves us with an accurate impression of your teeth.
The dental impression is then sent away to your dental technician, where a cast is made and your gum shield is created to fit perfectly over it. The dentist will receive the new gum shield from the dental technician and ensure it is to the specifications asked for. Your dentist will then fit the sports guard at your next dental appointment and ensure that it is comfortable and you are happy with it.
You should have a new sports guard made at the beginning of every sports season, and if you are young and have a mixed dentition ie. adult and deciduous (baby) teeth you will need your gum shield changing as your teeth change. Home kits are available but do not give an accurate fit and therefore do not support your teeth as well as professionally made guards.