It’s been a very long while since I last posted on the blog, and for that I am truly sorry! This is a piece that we wrote earlier this year that’d we’d like to share with you, on mouthguards and sports oral/facial injuries! More new stuff to come later this week! – Dr. Blum
Le Mouthguard Expose: Custom Fit Mouthguards
It’s true: any athlete who plays a sport involving any contact play or that has high risk of sudden impacts, recreational or competitive, should wear a mouthguard. Properly diagnosed, designed, and custom fabricated mouthguards are truly essential in the prevention of athletic oral/facial and brain trauma injuries. The $1.99 boil-and-mold mouthguards can be convenient and are inexpensive, and we won’t argue that that, in-and-of-itself, can be a legitimate reason to stick with that type of mouthguard. The boil-and-mold mouthguards do not make the cut for us, however. There’s no comparison in function…
The American Dental Association (ADA) estimates that mouthguards prevent approximately 200,000 injuries each year in high school and collegiate football alone. From an elbow to the face, a body-check that dislocates the jaw, eating mat, or accidentally catching a softball with your mouth even in sports we don’t typically consider to be ‘contact sports’, the risk of oral/head injury is always present.
Here are some more of Dr. Blum’s thoughts on mouthguards:
Q: What’s the good of wearing mouthguards?
For one, mouthguards act as shock-absorbers. When someone wearing a mouthguard takes a hit to the mouth, the mouthguard absorbs a lot of the shock itself so that the teeth and teeth joints (where the teeth connect to the jaw bones) don’t get knocked loose, and also to minimize the risk of concussion. Also, when someone is wearing a mouthguard, their upper and lower teeth are usually stabilized against the mouthguard to some extent or another. This helps keep the jaw properly positioned and when receiving an impact, the mouthguard reinforces that proper positioning of the jaw joint (aka the TMJ - temporomandibular joint) and lowers the risk of jaw dislocation. Furthermore, with the proper bite and proper positioning of the jaw (facilitated by wearing a mouthguard), the airflow passageways are best positioned to function at full capacity and more efficiently bring oxygen to the body.
Q: What’s the advantage of custom-fit sport mouthguards?
Custom made mouthguards actually fit properly and cover all of your teeth. They’re designed to be thick enough in all the right places, so they can act as shock absorbers at all the correct angles. They can also be designed to maintain your jaw’s proper positioning, which as mentioned above can make taking in oxygen during sport more efficient. At the same time, any good athlete on a team sport knows that in most cases, vocal communication on the field is a key element to any cohesive team. Custom fit mouthguards are designed to protect AND enable fluid vocal communication, and are nothing like the $1.99 awkward pieces of rubber many people have come to associate with the standard for what mouthguards are. With them you don’t have to worry about whether your mouthguard is going to pop out when you’re talking to teammates and coordinating the defense.
Q: Tell us a story!
I’ll keep it short. Just think: baseball to the mouth, concussion, cracked teeth, crowns, bonding, back in to braces for several more years, and a whole lot of owie. That’s a lot of pain, frustration and a lot of money. The custom fit mouthguard is the smart investment and is worth it—believe me.
Have more questions about mouthguards or sport injuries? Ask us!