Your oral & dental health A-Z oral health information Mouthguards What is a mouthguard? A mouthguard is a specially made, rubber-like cover which fits exactly over your teeth and gums, cushioning them and protecting them from damage. When would I need a mouthguard? It is important to wear a professionally made mouthguard whenever you play sport that involves physical contact or moving objects. This includes: cricket, hockey and football - which can cause broken and damaged teeth; and American football, boxing and rugby - which can all cause broken or dislocated jaws. A mouthguard will help protect against these happening. Where can I get one made? Your dental team will be happy to make you a custom-made mouthguard, which will fit your mouth exactly and protect your teeth and gums properly. Custom-made mouthguards can prevent damage to the jaw, neck and even the brain - helping to prevent the concussion and damage caused by a heavy blow. How much will it cost? Costs can vary from dentist to dentist. Ask your dental team about mouthguards and always get an estimate before starting treatment. When you consider the cost of expensive dental work and the risk of losing teeth, it is a small price to pay for peace of mind. How long do custom-made mouthguards last? Depending on your age, your mouthguard may need replacing fairly regularly. If you are still growing, new teeth will come through and move into position. So the mouthguard may become too tight or loose, and will need to be remade to fit the new shape of your mouth. Adults may not need to have their mouthguards replaced quite so often. But they are like any other form of sports equipment and will suffer from wear and tear. It is recommended that you take your mouthguard along to the dentist when you go for your check-up, so it can be checked. What about home kits? Mouthguards are made by taking an accurate impression of your mouth and making the mouthguard fit your own teeth. The dentist will note the way your jaws bite together to make sure the mouthguard meets properly with your teeth. There are cheaper kits available. They involve heating the product in hot water and then putting it in your mouth until it sets. Unfortunately, these mouthguards can fit badly and be uncomfortable to wear. They can fall out or even cause choking. Also the material is at its thinnest where it is needed most. Can I get coloured mouthguards? There are many types of mouthguard including striped, multi-coloured and clear. Many people now have coloured mouthguards made in their favourite team's colours or to match their own sports strip. Your dental team will be able to tell you whether they can provide coloured mouthguards. What do I do if I knock a tooth out? Firstly, if you can find the tooth and it is clean, put it back into the socket yourself. If you can't put it back, put it straight into a cup of milk or keep it in your mouth. Don't panic. Do go to a dentist or hospital as soon as possible. Do take painkillers if you need to, but don't take any medication containing aspirin as this can cause the bleeding to get worse. Don't hold the tooth by the root, as teeth are surrounded by fragile ligaments which need to be kept intact if the tooth is to be put back in. Don't clean the tooth with disinfectant or water, or let it dry out. Don't put aspirin or clove oil on the wound. The sooner the tooth is replaced, the better the chances of success. If you have not managed to do it yourself, the dentist will put the tooth back. They may use a dental splint to fasten the tooth against the teeth on either side. In most cases this is successful, and once the splint is removed the tooth is stable. However, you will almost certainly need more treatment in the future. People who viewed this page also visited... Cracked teeth Tooth decay Dry mouth Need more advice? If you need free and impartial advice about your oral health, contact our Dental Helpline by email or call 01788 539780 (local rate call in the UK). Our Dental Helpline is completely confidential and has helped almost 400,000 people since opening over 20 years ago. Contact our experts by telephone, email or online enquiry, Monday to Friday, 09:00 - 17:00.