Athletes are often concerned with preventing serious injury from occurring during their activities. That’s why sports teams and schools often require protective equipment such as guards or pads to be worn, depending on what type of activity is happening. We often seek to protect the skull with a helmet, but another important piece of equipment that can prevent concussions is a professionally fitted mouth guard.
Athletic mouth guards that are professionally made have been proven to reduce the risk of not only dental fractures, but concussions as well. That’s because the guard keeps the jaw in a relationship with the rest of the skull so that it cannot be traumatically forced into the skull, resulting in a concussion. It also blocks trauma to the teeth, reducing lip lacerations and tooth fractures.
Custom fitted guards are much more effective than an over the counter mouth guard. For one, custom mouth guards will stay in place securely because they are made to wrap around each tooth and the arch of the mouth as it is made from a direct model of the patient’s teeth. Over the counter guards are simply one-size-fits-most, and are loosely fitted which will allow them to fall out after initial trauma takes place, making them ineffective at secondary trauma during the same accident. They also can’t reduce concussions, and are difficult to talk or drink water when they are being worn. Custom guards are very comfortable and will stay in place securely so that athletes can continue to talk, breathe easily, and even drink water when the guard is being worn.
Ask your dentist about custom sports guards. In most cases they can even be customized to match the colors of your school or team!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Scott Merritt, BridgeMill Dentistry
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