Sports dentistry is primarily about protecting the gums, teeth, and hard or soft tissues in the mouth by wearing a mouthguard that fits properly. However, this field of dentistry applies not only to professional or school athletes, but also to ordinary people who need specially designed sports dentistry.
Yet the advancement in sports dentistry is clearly evident in professional sports wherein head gear already includes specially fitted mouth guards to protect athletes from injuries. In addition to headgear, school sports officials also require the use of face masks and other personal protective equipment for the face, mouth, and head to prevent injury from accidents.
The mouth guard is designed not only to protect the teeth but also to stabilize and protect the temporomandibular joint and protect it from harsh impacts. It also reduces injuries to soft tissues such as the gums, inner cheeks, and lips. Some well-known sports that require the use of a mouth guard and headgear are football, hockey, boxing, motocross, BMX cycling, skiing, lacrosse, and racing.
There are different types of mouthguards, which differ in the materials used. Some examples are the custom-made mouth guards from sports equipment shops, dentist-made mouth guards, and the boil-and-bite type. The difference between boil-and-bite is that it is made of thermoplastic which is then placed in boiling water to reheat it and the athlete will bite into the semi-warm material in which it adjusts to the contours and structure of the teeth and gums.