Mouth guards, also known as gum shields, were first developed in 1890 by a London dentist, Woolf Krause. The reason for the invention at the time was to protect boxers from lip lacerations. Injuries of this type were frequent and often disabling. The shields, which were made of gutta percha, were held in place by clenching the teeth.
An Improvement in the Design
Woolf’s son, Philip Krause, who was both a dentist and amateur boxer, eventually revised the original design and made the shields from vella rubber. By the 1930s, gum shields were considered part of a boxer’s equipment. Gene Tunney and Jack Dempsey, before the Second World War, were probably the last of the heavyweight boxers who did not wear mouth guards.
A number of mouth guards are available for athletic use. The simplest of mouth guards is a stock gum shield, which can be purchased at a sporting goods store. The more complex gum shields are custom-made and require an impression cast of the wearer’s dentition. Warwickshire dental technicians then follow up by making a mouth guard from this cast.
Sports-Specific Mouth Guards That Are Made in the Dental Lab
More complex designs include multiple laminated layers of material that are pressed together to form a final unit. This method permits the use of sports-specific models that feature hard inserts over the incisor teeth for missile or ball sports or the employment of shock-absorbing materials for collision-type sporting activities.
Basically, a custom-fitted design ensures retention of the gum shield in contact or collision sports. The simpler designs, unfortunately, do not offer much protection and tend to fit poorly. They can also interfere with someone’s speech or breathing. The only benefit provided by their use has to do with the cost and widespread availability. In order to fully protect your mouth, you need to have a protective mouthpiece made by a dental technician.