Helmets, shin guards, knee and elbow pads…you’re ready to play. But wait, what about your teeth? Did you know that up to 40 percent of all sports injuries involve the face? According to the American Dental Association, more than 200,000 oral injuries are prevented annually in this country by athletic mouth guards.
Unfortunately, the National Youth Sports Foundation estimates that more than 5 million teeth can be knocked out in sporting activities this year. These oral traumas can happen to children, high school and college-level athletes and can result in lifetime dental costs of $10,000 – $15,000 per tooth, hours in the dentist’s chair, and the possible development of other serious problems.
That’s why the value of an athletic mouthguard to protect your smile, your image and self confidence cannot be overstated.
Protect Teeth and Soft Tissue
A mouthguard is a comfortable piece of athletic gear that fits over your teeth and can help protect the hard (teeth and jaw bones) and soft (lips, cheeks, gums, tongue) tissues of the mouth from traumatic blows and collisions. It can also help prevent cerebral hemorrhage and neck injuries when the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw. New research indicates that mouth guards can even reduce the severity of concussions.
Not All Athletic Mouth Guards are Created Equal
Beware of clever marketing schemes, claims, and promotions by stock or boil-and-bite mouthguard companies. These mouth guards are inexpensive and readily available. Unfortunately, they can be uncomfortable and bulky. Often they do not fit correctly and can interfere with breathing and speaking. They may also provide a false sense of protection due to the dramatic decrease in thickness when the athlete bites it into place during its softened state.
You and your family deserve better, and boil-and-bite mouth guards simply do not provide the best protection available.
Professionally Fitted Mouth Guards Work Best
Athletic mouth guards must be professionally constructed and fitted to ensure that they stay in place at the moment of impact, cushion the mouth and teeth from direct blows and distribute the force of an impact over a greater surface area.
Dr. Best takes a custom impression of your teeth and surrounding jawbone, which a qualified laboratory uses to make your custom sports guard. The specific laminated materials and thickness of your guard are determined by the sport: For example, a hockey player needs more layers and a thicker guard than a mountain biker.
Always wear your mouthguard during practice and games. Never chew on it because it may weaken the material and decrease its effectiveness. Holes, tears, and damage to the mouthguard may irritate your gums or soft tissue. Replace your mouthguard immediately if you notice any damage.
Before and after each use, check your mouthguard for damage and rinse it with cold water or mouthwash. Regularly clean your guard with a toothbrush and toothpaste or a solution of soapy water. Rinse it well and store it in a firm, perforated container. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight and places with high temperatures.