Custom Athletic Mouthguards: A Dentist’s Perspective

It seems as though every year around this time, especially in Bronco country, patients want athletic mouth guards for their children. However, there is no one season for mouthguards. A common misconception is that only contact sport participants require mouthguards. This is 100% false! All athletes need to protect not just their teeth, but their jaws and even their brain by using a custom fitted athletic mouth guard, this includes not only football, but basketball, soccer, baseball, volleyball, wrestling, lacrosse, baseball, and even cheerleading participants to consider using custom mouth guards. 

What are the benefits?

1. Prevent cuts and bruising during impact between the lips and the teeth.

2. Prevent tooth fractures or tooth displacement. Opposing teeth are protected from jarring during a blow to the head.

3.They provide support that can prevent fracture or damage to lower jaw.

4. They help reduce brain injury by acting as shock absorbers between the upper and lower jaws reducing incidents of concussions as well as positive reinforcement in the prevention of neck injuries.

5. Mouth guards provide a psychological benefit to athletes. Findings suggest athletes feel more confident and aggressive when they have the proper protection.

Did you know…?

An athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to the teeth when not wearing a protective mouthguard.

Mouthguards and faceguards prevent an estimated 200,000 high school and college football injuries. Worried about cost of a custom mouth guard as compared to a store bought?  Athletes who experience trauma to a tooth (teeth) may face lifetime dental costs of $15,000 to $20,000 per tooth! The total cost to replace a lost tooth can be 20 times more than the cost of a custom-fabricated mouth guard!

The ADA recommends wearing custom mouthguards for the following sports: acrobatics, basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, shot-putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weight lifting, and wrestling. There are newer sports such as rollerblading, mountain biking, and skateboarding, or sports such as racquetball and gymnastics, which include cheerleading, show wearing a guard to beneficial; female athletes especially need the protection a mouthguard provides.

The most serious and life-threatening consequence of sports trauma is a concussion.

Blows of varying degrees are repeatedly delivered to the jaw and chin during athletic training and competition. The concussive vibration from these blows is conducted to the skull. The brain “floats” in fluid and is protected by the skull. Unfortunately, the skull cannot protect or prevent the brain from incurring forces from a violent impact. The result is the chance of the brain rotating within the skull, causing a concussion. The use of properly fitted mouth guard can act as a buffer and reduce the impact.  Consult with your dentist whether a custom mouthguard or an over-the-counter is better, but bottom line is use a mouthguard.

Curious about mouthguards? Reserve an appointment today so that you can rest easy knowing you or your child will be protected with a custom fitted mouthguard.

Melvin Benson Jr., DDS, FAGD