Written by Sarah Snik, RDH

During your regular check up you may be surprised to hear Dr. Wyke, Pam or Sarah (that’s me) ask if your child is involved in any sports. Educating you and your child on ways to avoid dental injuries can be just as important as brushing and flossing to keep that smile healthy. According to the American Dental Association, as much as 1/3 of all dental injuries are sports related.

A properly fitting sports mouth guard is an essential piece of athletic gear to protect the teeth from injury. It can cushion a blow to the head which may cause injury to the teeth, lips, and even jaw fractures. If your child has braces, your orthodontist will recommend a mouth guard or prevent broken brackets, appliances and injury to the cheeks and lips.

While mouth guards are mandatory in hockey, football and field hockey, they should be seriously considered in other contact sports like basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, wrestling and volleyball.

If keeping your face and teeth safe isn’t enough to convince you that mouth guards are necessary, studies have shown they may play a role in preventing or reducing concussion. The mouth guard can cushion forces that would otherwise transmit through the base of the skull to the brain. Although the evidence is not yet conclusive, another study of high school athletes found that 56% of all concussions occurred when mouth guards were not worn.

When talking to our patients about the importance of mouth guards, we hear a variety of reasons why they don’t want to wear one. Improper fit can cause discomfort and difficulty speaking or breathing. All mouth guards are not created equal, however. There are generally three categories of mouth guards available, which vary in cost and effectiveness. The first is a stock mouth guard which is made ready to use and offers the least protection. Mouth formed, or “boil and bite” are heated in hot water, placed in the mouth and molded to the teeth. (These you can see on display hanging out of your your young athlete’s mouth during a game.) Finally you have the custom made mouth guard, offering the most effective protection. It is individually made allowing for breathing and talking. They are comfortable, soft and resilient.

Considering a custom mouth guard? Dr. Wyke offers custom fit mouth guards made in office for just $62. That’s a lot of protection for the cost of 2 inferior mouth guards from your friendly sporting goods store! Creating your own custom mouth guard is quick and easy.   We will set up an appointment to take an impression (mold) of the upper teeth and within about a week you will stop back in to check the fit and you are ready to go. The only hard part will be deciding how to customize your mouth guard. We offer a huge variety of color combinations and you can add decals, your name or number.

If you already have a mouth guard, be sure to keep it clean between wearing. Wash it with cool soapy water, rinse thoroughly and store it in a container. Pets love to eat mouth guards so be sure to keep it where they can’t get to it, this is good advice for your retainers too! Call today for more information or to schedule! NOW PLAY BALL!

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