On a Thursday afternoon recently, a beautiful young lady was rushed into my office with a bloody rag held up to her mouth. Two of her front teeth were missing, the gums surrounding those teeth were torn and bleeding, and there was a broken hunk of bone hanging from the area where the teeth had been. She had been running on the field at school during lacrosse practice when another student ran into her, accidentally head-butting her in the mouth. As we tried to come up with a plan to piece this pretty child’s smile back together, I couldn’t help thinking “Why wasn’t she wearing a mouthguard?”
The American Dental Association recommends wearing custom mouthguards for many sports. If your child is active in one of the following sports, please consider protecting their teeth with a custom fitted mouthguard:
- equestrian events
- extreme sports
- martial arts
Even the backyard variety of sports, such as scooter and bicycle riding, can be hazardous to a child’s smile. The American Dental Association estimates that “a full third of all dental injuries are sports related and that the use of a mouthguard can prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries to the mouth each year.” The risks of playing sports without the necessary protection aren’t just related to teeth loss. A harsh impact to the jaw can even affect the growth of a child’s facial features.
When choosing a mouthguard, it’s important to remember that custom-made guards are far superior to the “boil and bite” variety you may have seen in your local sporting goods store. A custom guard offers the best protection as it is closely adapted to the surfaces of every tooth, and it is also the most comfortable type of guard to wear.
Here at Cheek Dental, we design our guards similar to a process used when making an orthodontic retainer guaranteeing a perfect fit to your child’s mouth. The fit is the most important aspect of a protective mouthguard. On the fun side of things, guards can also be made to match your child’s school colors, or can feature the logo of their favorite team. Bones and skin can heal, but teeth do not grow back, so protect that smile and wear a mouthguard!