Properly designed and custom fabricated mouth guards are an important, but often overlooked aspect of preventative dentistry. Dental injuries are the most common type of orafacial injury sustained during sports participation. The National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries, Inc. reports several interesting statistics: Victims of total tooth avulsions (knocked out teeth) may face lifetime dental costs of $10,000-$15,000 per tooth, hours in the dentist's chair, and the possible development of other dental problems such as bone loss. The American Dental Association estimates that mouth guards prevent approximately 200,000 injuries each year in high school and collegiate football alone. Are you aware that mouth guards may reduce concussions following impacts to the lower jaw?
Unfortunately, mouth guards conjure up images of an uncomfortable piece of plastic purchased from a sporting goods store. That's because these "Stock" or "Boil and Bite" types of mouth guards constitute 90% of all mouth guards being worn today. They are ineffective since they fit poorly, are too thin to offer protection and can make breathing and speaking difficult. Stock mouth guards that must be held in place by constantly biting down come in limited sizes and are often altered by the wearer for a more comfortable fit, which further reduce the protective properties of the mouth guard. As health professionals interested in injury prevention we do not recommend this type of mouth guard to our patients. To be effective, a mouth guard has to be protective, comfortable, allow for easy speaking and breathing, have an excellent fit and sufficient thickness in critical areas. Only custom fitted mouth guards designed and fabricated by your dentist can meet all these criteria.
Custom fitted mouth guards allow Commerce Park Children's Dentistry & Orthodontics to address several important issues in fitting the mouth guard. For example, does the mouth guard take into consideration missing, loose or erupting teeth? What about orthodontic considerations? Is there a history of dental trauma and areas that need additional protection? These are important questions the sporting goods store retailer and the boil & bite type mouth guards do not address.
Made from a stone cast of the mouth using an impression taken by the dentist, a custom fitted mouth guard is made of a heated thermoplastic material that is adapted over the model with a special vacuum. The material is then trimmed and polished for an ideal fit. This technique allows the dentist to control the size, thickness and form of the mouth guard.
When children learn to wear mouth guards at an early age they become an integral part of their sports regimen. The first appointment takes under 15 minutes and the cost is less than a piece of sporting equipment.
Custom mouth guards can help children keep their teeth for a lifetime. You may complete and submit our Printable Mouth Guard Registration form online, download the form and mail it to us, request a mouth guard appointment online or call our office to schedule.