How does a mouthguard work?
The beauty is in its simplicity. A mouthguard is designed to not only protect the teeth, but also the jaw. A properly fit mouth guard opens the jaw in such a way that the temporomandibular joint (the TMJ) is no longer touching the base of the skull. This means that when a hard shoulder comes flying at your child’s jaw, the guard cushions the blow, preventing the jaw from ramming into the skull. Concussion prevented!
Who should wear mouthguards?
The Journal of the American Dental Association has published that 13-39% of all dental injuries are sports-related. Currently, the National Federation of State High School Associations mandates mouthguards for only four sports: football, ice hockey, lacrosse, and field hockey. Of those sports; it is estimated that only 75% of players actually wear mouthguards. Of the remaining sports, about 7% of players wear mouthguards even though they aren’t required.
In 1962, high school and junior high football players were required by the National Alliance Football Rules Committee to wear protective mouth gear for the first time. One study shows that in 1961, half of these athletes were receiving facial and mouth injuries. The first year this requirement was implemented the rate of injury went down to less than 1% of players receiving mouth injuries and this statistic continues to this day.
Isn’t my child is too young to worry about such injuries?
Unfortunately, no. Kids play rough! A ball does not have to be moving that fast to be a threat to your child’s mouth. A little over half of all injuries sustained are by children ages 7 through 10.
One study* conducted on 2,470 high school and junior high school child athletes showed that a shocking 9% sustained a mouth injury and 3% lost consciousness during play. A mouthguard can decrease their risk of concussion by more than 50%, and of other mouth and teeth injuries by 75%.
Why get a custom made mouthguard?
There are five big reasons to spring for a custom mouthguard for your child.
- A custom mouthguard can be tailored to the sport. Football mouthguards look and function differently from baseball mouthguards, for example.
- A custom mouthguard is more comfortable. Boiled or stock mouthguards are the cheaper counterpart for a custom fit mouthguard they can have sharp edges that rub uncomfortably on the gums or the inside of the cheeks.
- Children with braces get a special fit. A custom fit mouthguard will have extra room for the child’s braces, and protect them from mouth abrasions due to hard impacts.
- A custom mouthguard costs significantly less than a procedure to replace a tooth. We know that the pain in one’s pocketbook is nothing next to the pain in a child’s eyes, but both are factors in a mouth injury. Replacing a tooth can cost several times more than a mouthguard. It’s not only the safer choice, it’s the cheaper choice!
- Custom mouthguards help decrease the likelihood of concussions. A 2014 study found that “High school football players wearing store-bought, over-the-counter (OTC) mouthguards were more than twice as likely to suffer mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI)/concussions than those wearing custom-made, properly fitted mouthguards.”
How do I get one and what does it cost?
Our custom made mouthguards are made in house and cost about $222. We can customize your mouthguard to show your team spirit with custom colors. Just ask!
As your child grows, you will need to get them periodically remade to match the growth of your child’s mouth. Once they reach high school and their growth slows, resizing as often is not necessary. A well cared for mouthguard can last for years, but chewing idly on a mouthguard or cramming it into football faceguards will shorten its life.
Would a mouthguard help with teeth grinding?
Absolutely! Mouthguards meant to prevent night-time teeth grinding are called nightguards. Many people grind their teeth at night, and this behavior can cause jaw pain and a flattening of the teeth. They are a little different from mouthguards, but we are just as good at making them! And if you think you don’t grind your teeth, just ask your spouse. A patient’s loved ones are usually the ones that notice! Read this page for more information.
What happens if my child is injured?
The sooner you act, the better for your athlete’s teeth and their overall health. If your child should sustain an injury there are 4 things to keep in mind:
- If your child loses consciousness, even “just for a moment”, seek medical help immediately.
- Place ice or a cold compress on any swelling.
- If your child breaks a tooth, rinse the mouth with cool water and keep any fragments.
- Keep our number on speed-dial during your child’s sports season! We are available 24/7 for emergency services!
In 2012, there were 3,800,000 reported cases of concussions and 47% of sports related concussion occurred in high school football. Parents, if you suspect your child has suffered a concussion during a game, and their coach pushes them to return to play, it is your right and your responsibility to pull your child from the game. “Second Impact Syndrome” incidents (injuries to the head after the player has received a primary concussion and has returned to play) are very dangerous. Unfortunately, 15% of incidents where a player lost consciousness, they were returned to the same game.
Be safe out there! Gladstone Family Dentistry is happy to support you any time this sports season!
Keep our number on speed-dial during your child’s sports season! We are available 24/7 for emergency services! Call us today at 503-657-3077 or leave your name and contact info in the form below and we’ll contact you.
*Kumamoto, DP. Sports Dentistry at the State Level. JADA, June, 1996, 127(6):816.