Colorado Springs sport dentistry expert Dr. Tara Pool creates custom fitted mouth guards. Call 719-265-6654
Helmets, shin guards, knee pads are a big part of an athlete’s world. Whether you are the athlete or the parent of one, you recognize the importance of protective year. But did you know that nearly half of all sports injuries involve the face?
Even if your sport isn’t customarily associated with mouth guards, it is worth considering one anyway. A recent study indicated that in football, an intense contact sport where mouth guards are worn, only .07 percent of injuries were orofacial. However in basketball, where mouth guards are not typically worn, 34 percent of injuries were orofacial. These include everything from simple contusions and lacerations to fractured jaws and tooth avulsions.
Naturally, dentists and the ADA recommend mouth guards for adults and children in any recreational activity that poses the risk of injury to your mouth.
According to the National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries, dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial injury sustained while playing sports. The cost of properly treating dental avulsions where teeth were not properly preserved and replanted could exceed $10,000 per tooth, not to mention the hours spent in a dentist’s chair and other potential dental problems down the road.
The American Dental Association estimates that mouth guards prevent approximately 200,000 injuries each year in high school and collegiate football alone. A mouth guard is a comfortable piece of athletic gear that fits over your teeth and can help protect your smile as well as your lips, tongue, face, and jaw. New research indicates that mouth guards can even reduce the severity of concussions.
A properly fitted mouth guard should be protective, resilient, comfortable, odorless, tasteless, tear resistant, not bulky, and cause minimal interference to speaking and breathing. But one of the most important criteria is it should have excellent retention and sufficient thickness in the most critical areas. Without all of these characteristics, a mouth guard might not help much. Unfortunately, many athletes never look beyond the “over the counter” options available at sporting goods stores. Sports dentistry experts do not recommend these mouth guards for any age. It is always best to wear a custom-made mouth guard that is professionally manufactured and dentist-prescribed.
Custom-Made Mouth Guards
Custom-made mouth guards are by far the best solution. They are comfortable, practical, and protective. A dentist or lab technician creates this custom-made mouth guard after taking impressions of your teeth. Before you purchase any mouth guard, consult with Colorado Springs dentist Dr. Tara Pool. Special mouth guards or mouth protectors are recommended for patients with braces, removable bridges or dentures, a protruding jaw, or a cleft palate.
Mouth Guard Care
Always wear a mouth guard during practice and games, but resist the urge to chew on it, as this will weaken the material and decrease its effectiveness. Holes, tears, and damage to the mouth guard may irritate your gums or soft tissue. If you notice damage, replace your mouth guard immediately. Before and after each use, check your mouth guard for damage and rinse it with cold water or mouthwash. You should regularly clean your guard with a toothbrush and toothpaste, or in a solution of soapy water. Be sure to rinse it well and store it in a firm, perforated case. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or high temperatures.
Which sports should require a mouth guard?
The American Dental Association and the Academy of Sports Dentistry recommend mouth guards for athletes who participate in the following sports: Acrobatics, Field Hockey, Racquetball, Squash, Bandi, Football, Rugby, Surfing, Baseball, Gymnastics, Shot Put, Volleyball, Basketball, Handball, Skateboarding, Water Polo, Bicycling, Ice Hockey, Skiing, Weightlifting, Boxing, Inline Skating, Skydiving, Wrestling, Equestrian Events, Lacrosse, Soccer, Field Events, Martial Arts and Softball
6475 Wall St Suite 202
Colorado Springs, CO 80918