Back to School… Back To Sports: Let’s talk about MOUTHGUARDS
After four and every weekend after ten AM, we receive emergency calls from… SPORTS INJURY! Kids who take part in athletic activities — whether it’s the local Basketball League, AYSO, or even bicycling, are prone to injuries of the mouth.
Here is a list of a few sports/activities that have resulted in tooth injuries treated in our office over the first few weeks since school has started:
- Tooth knocked out at a trampoline birthday party
- Cracked front tooth at skateboarding classes
- Cracked front tooth during soccer practice from soccer ball hit in the face
- Tooth intruded (pushed up) into the gum during flag football practice
- Tooth pushed back during basketball practice
- (might surprise you to know that kids playing basketball are 15 times more likely to sustain injuries to the mouth or face than football players! Mandatory mouthguards are one reason for that)
- However, wearing a mouthguard at home is about as likely as wrapping them in bubble wrap
Mouthguards are required in only four school-based sports: football, ice hockey, lacrosse, and field hockey. Yet basketball and baseball are associated with the largest number of dental injuries.
Other sports for which the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends wearing a mouthguard include bicycling, soccer, skateboarding, wrestling and volleyball. Do mouthguards work? The ADA estimates that athletes who don’t wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to suffer dental injury than those who do.
Sporting Goods Stores versus Custom Mouthguard: Which is Best?
The best mouthguard for your child is the one he or she actually wears, both at practice and on game day. There are several different types of mouthguards on the market, which generally fall into three categories:
- An “off-the-shelf” mouthguard. The least expensive option, it offers a minimal level of protection… that’s probably better than nothing. It generally must be clenched in the mouth, which can make wearing it uncomfortable and cause trouble breathing and speaking. Kids tend to chew on them more than wear them.
- The “boil and bite” mouthguard. These are designed to be immersed in hot water, and then formed in the mouth using finger, tongue and bite pressure. When they can be made to fit adequately, they generally offer better protection than the first type—but they may still be uncomfortable, and usually fail to offer full coverage of the teeth. Note: We have found that the water must be pretty hot to actually mold the correct way so be careful with water temperatures and burning the gums and palate.
A custom mouthguard that we make just for you. This is a piece of quality sports equipment that’s custom-fabricated for your child’s mouth. We start by making a model of the teeth using our digital impression maker, and then mold the protector around it for a perfect fit. It’s made from tough, high-quality material, offering maximum protection and a superior level of comfort. We can also make it in team colors or glitter! (Whatever makes them wear it, right?)