The Facts About Mouthguards

Sports Dentistry, the treatment and prevention of oral, facial athletic injuries and related oral diseases, is a growing and highly discussed segment of dentistry today. With the rise of participation in athletics and youth sporting events, physicians and dentists are looking at what their role should be in helping to protect their patients during these activities.

Consider these facts: The National Sports Foundation estimates that over 5 million teeth are lost annually in sporting activities in the United States. A blow to the jaw or chin can cause dental injuries as well as concussive, sub concussive, or head and neck injuries.

According to the American Dental Associate (ADA), the lifetime cost of a missing tooth can reach $10,000 to $15,000. The cost of a concussion cannot be measured in dollars.

Essential Protection for Athletes of All Ages

Mouthguards are essential equipment for athletes of all ages who participate in sporting events and activities. The use of a mouthguard can protect the teeth, lips, cheeks, and tongue from injuries sustained during sporting activities. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, a mouthguard can also prevent more serious injuries such as concussions, cerebral hemorrhages, incidents of unconsciousness, jaw fractures, and neck injuries by helping to avoid situations where the lower jaw get jammed into the upper law.

The ADA estimates that mouthguards prevent approximately 200,000 injuries per year in American high school and collegiate football alone. The ADA also states that athletics who do not wear mouth protection face a seven times greater chance of suffering an orofacial injury that those athletes who use mouthguards.

The serious oral and facial injuries that can be sustained during sports activities demands that proper attention to be placed on protection. Most dental professional and dental associations agree that mouthguards are essential and that over-the-counter mouthguards do not provide adequate protection.

Superior Protection with Custom-Fitter Mouthguards

According to the National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety, the stock mouthguards purchased from a sporting good store, without professional fittings, provide a low level of protection, if any. And, if the wearer loses consciousness, there is a risk that the mouthguard may lodge in the throat, possibly obstructing the airway.

Inexpensive mouthguards that are not professionally fitted do not provide adequate protection, and can even make breathing difficult. In addition, they are made of materials that can potentially be bitten through by an athlete upon injury or impact. Standard mouthguards purchased from a sporting goods or drug store are typically placed in boiling water, then molded by the wearer in an effort to make them fit.

Custom-fitted mouthguards that are recommended, individually prescribed and dispense by dentists, provide the best fit and protection for athletes of all ages. Manufactured from a high-grade vinyl for resiliency and shock-absorption, professional mouthguards are odorless and hypoallergenic. When carefully fitted, a mouthguard creates a custom cushion protecting  the teeth and mouth, and absorbing the shock from direct impact to the jaw, chin and face, thus reducing the risk of concussion.

TMJ Therapy

Many suffer from Tempromandibular Joint pain or Tempromandibular Dysfunction. Symptoms include:

– Pain in opening
– Inability to open wide or move from side to side comfortably
– Neck and shoulder pain
– Ear pain, hearing loss
– Ringing in the ears
– Clenching, night grinding
– Chronic fatigue
– Noise, grating or popping in joint
– Chronic Temporal or occipital headache

Treatment of these problems can be complicated.  The cause can often be multi-factorial.  Successful treatment may involve other professionals; Physiotherapy, Chiropractors, Massage Therapy, Cranio-mandibular specialists, and Physicians.

Meaningful treatment begins with proper diagnosis. We will do a thorough evaluation of your problem to determine the best way that we can help and the appropriate therapy.

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