What is the most critical piece of protective sports equipment? Most would probably say a helmet. That answer isn't wrong, especially since helmets stop sports players from undergoing severe and fatal head injuries. But, for contact sports, mouthguards can be just as important to an athlete’s well-being as a helmet.
Roughly forty percent of all sports injuries happen within the facial region, which includes various forms of dental trauma. Athletic coaches and dentists realize how important it is to teach sports players about proper safety equipment and the seriousness of facial injuries, which is why they are so persistent when it comes to mouthguards.
As with a helmet, mouthguards have to be fitted in order for them to prevent injury. Emilio Canal Jr, DDS
, a former president of the Academy of Sports Dentistry
says, “Mouth guards are protective safety equipment in sports, so they need to be properly fitted. It's no different than a helmet...You're not going to give a football player a helmet that's five times bigger than what he needs, because he's going to run around and it will be moving all over the place. If he gets hit, it's not going to protect him.”
Stock mouth guards can be found in most sporting goods stores and pharmacies. However, dentists do not advise using this kind of mouth guard because it offers very little protection. Also, you can't alter the fit, making it hard to breathe and talk.
Boil and bite mouth guards work exactly as they sound. By boiling the thermoplastic material in water, these mouth guards can be molded to better fit the athlete's particular bite. These kinds of mouth guards can also be found in sporting goods stores.
Personally-fitted mouth guards are the variety of mouth guard that dentists recommend because they are crafted individually to fit the athlete. A dentist makes a mold and then sends the impression to a dental lab where the mouth guard is made.
As we dive headfirst into the warmer months, always be sure that you and your family are sporting the proper protective equipment. The following is a list of the most common dental issues associated with sports injuries. Consult with Dr. Lechner
about the different types of mouth guards and ask which one is right for you. That way, you can avoid these issues.
. TMJ dislocation
. Missing teeth
. Crown fractures