So as summer moves forward, kids are at playgrounds, riding bikes, and playing sports. From a dentist’s perspective, this is the time of year that we see the most fractured front teeth. Outside of caging our kids indoors, mouthguards are by far the best way to prevent those injuries. We all know that kids should wear mouthguards during football and hockey, but athletes need to also wear them in other sports as well such as baseball, basketball, soccer, etc. Mouthguards not only protect the teeth, but when an athlete is hit in the lower jaw, they absorb the forces. This protects the joint, ligaments, and muscles and can lessen the effects of a concussion.
The National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries, Inc. found that 0.7% of injuries were in the orofacial area in football as opposed to basketball in which 34% of injuries were in the orofacial area. This is because football athletes are required to wear mouthguards. It was also estimated that the repair, reconstruction, and/or replacement of one broken front tooth of a teenager will cost between $10,000-$15,000 during a lifetime.
So there are basically two different types of biteguards. Over-the-counter boil and bite mouthguards and custom made mouthguards. Boil and bites are inexpensive and easy to use, but usually don’t fit very well and don’t last long either (see below).
This is a boil and bite mouthguard after only a few weekes of wear.
Custom mouthguards are specific to the athlete’s teeth and bite which allow them to last longer and do the job they were intended to… protect the teeth and absorb the forces. It’s a simple procedure of taking upper and lower impressions then a lab fabricates the mouthguard with any colors or logos that you want. They are more expensive, but if an athlete injures a tooth or the joint, the costs can me very high along with the possible long term treatments and discomfort that comes with such injuries.
So if you or someone in your family is interested in learning more about mouthguards or would like us to fabricate one, please give us a call. Regardless of what type of mouthguard, please wear them. I’d rather have a discussion about mouthguards versus how we’re going to repair a broken tooth.