Fall sports will soon begin. Over a third of mouth injuries occur while playing sports. Sports related oral and dental injuries are commonplace. We need to prevent injuries to teeth, tongues, lips and cheeks. School age children are the most vulnerable.
Athletic mouth guards are worn to save teeth and prevent sports related injuries to the mouth and jaws. Guards prevent over 200,000 mouth injuries per year.
The highest amount of sports mouth injuries occur playing basketball and baseball. Eight times more mouth injuries are reported from soccer than football. Why less in football? Football players are required to wear mouthguards. No guard will prevent 100% of mouth and jaw injuries, but they only work if worn.
Q: What is a professional grade mouth guard?
A: These are custom made devices. An impression is taken of your mouth. The impression is poured to make a model. This model is used to vacuum fit a rubber/plastic reinforced material just for you. These are more desirable than over-the-counter mouth guards with better retention, uniform thickness, less bulk and the ability to adjust.
The perfect guard would be comfortable, not affect speech, tear resistant, odorless, tasteless and resilient to wear.
Q: What sports require guards?
A: The National Federation of State High School Associations mandates use of protective mouth guards in football, field and ice hockey and lacrosse. The American Dental Association “recommends that athletically active people of all ages use a properly fitted mouth guard in any sporting or recreational activity that may pose risk of an injury”. This includes use in almost 30 sports. The regulated use in these sports may be optional, but mouth guard usage should be mandatory.
Q: How expensive are these protective athletic mouth guards?
A: Guards are not a whole lot more expensive than traditionally used ones; the savings is the significant amount of damage they can prevent.
Q: What do I do if I have bleeding and lacerations in my mouth or my tooth is knocked loose or completely out?
A: It is important to see the dentist for evaluation after the accident to prevent complications. Even if the teeth are knocked completely out, they sometimes can be put back in. However, they may require root canals and crowns.
CARE FOR TRAUMA EXTRACTED TEETH ARE AS FOLLOWS:
If dirty rinse them off with pure clean water. Do not brush or wipe them, leave the cells needed for reattachment.
Place back in the victim’s mouth (cheek area works good) if at all possible. Remember don’t swallow them.
If the above is not possible, store in a glass of milk or a wet napkin inside a Zip-Lock bag. Call your Dentist. The best success in re-implanting lost teeth occurs within the first 30 minutes.
The important message is: WEAR YOUR MOUTHGUARD. PREVENTION IS THE DESIRED OUTCOME.
Play safe and have fun.