Back-to-school can be one of the busiest times of the year for parents. School supply lists seem to get longer and carpool schedules get crazier. But before you start shuffling your kids to their different sports practices, be sure to get them a mouth guard.
Using a good mouth guard to protect your teeth can make sports participation more enjoyable by preventing or mitigating mouth and tooth injuries. It is a basic piece of equipment that is essential gear for any physical activity, from organized sports like football, to activities and hobbies like skateboarding.
According to the American Dental Association, 10-20% of all sports related injuries are maxillofacial injuries, and often will result in permanent damage to oral structures. And, The National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety stated that an athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to the teeth when not wearing a protective mouth guard.
The types of dental injuries that can result from sports and can be prevented from the proper use of a mouth guard are:
Fracture: Classified as a root fracture, broken tooth, or chipped tooth
Avulsion: An entire tooth, including the root, knocked out
Luxation: Tooth is in it’s socket, but in the wrong position
These injuries require immediate dental attention; the athlete should not wait until the end of the game to seek treatment.
There are 3 basic types of mouth guards that will each prevent dental injuries during sports. These mouth guards vary in price and comfort, yet all provide some layer of protection.
- Custom-Fitted Mouth Guard: This type of mouth guard is by far the best mouth guard in terms of its fit, comfort, and protection. They are made by a dental lab from an impression of the teeth taken by your dentist. The mouth guard is pressure-laminated during its fabrication and the final product is designed to fit the athlete’s mouth exactly. They offer the best fit and greater comfort and durability. You can also get them in custom colors!
- Boil and Bite Mouth Guard: Aboil and bite mouth guard is a thermoplastic mouth-formed protector and is usually softened by immersing it in hot water. It is then shaped to the teeth by using finger, tongue, and biting pressure. This type of mouth guard may not fit as well as the custom-made version, but offer a better fit than stock mouth guards.
- Stock Mouth Guard: The ready-made or stock mouth guard is found at most sporting good stores. It comes in several shapes and is constructed of rubber or polyvinyl material. However, because they are pre-formed and ready to wear, little can be done to adjust its fit. It may be uncomfortable and can interfere with breathing and speaking, and are often bulky.
Although injury can still occur even with a mouth guard, any mouth guard that fits properly can help to protect your mouth. The added protection helps shield the teeth and surrounding tissue from the force of many types of collisions, falls, and accidents.
For more information on preventing facial injury, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today… we are always happy to help protect a smile!