One of the most essential aspects of athletic performance is the prevention of injuries. Mouth guards, when properly designed and fabricated for the individual, greatly reduce the risk of orofacial injury. According to statistics by the National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries, the most commonly sustained sporting injury is orofacial in nature. The types of injuries that may occur range from lacerations to tooth avulsions to contusions due to improper protection.
The American Dental Association estimates that approximately 200,000 high school and collegiate football injuries alone are prevented each year thanks to the proper use of custom fitted mouth guards.
There are several aspects to the mouth guard that make it suitable for regular use. Athletes need a mouth guard that is not bulky and allows sufficient breathing. Mouth guards must also be resistant to tears, resilient, comfortable, and protective. Ideally, this appliance will have no odor or taste. A key element of the appropriate mouth guard is sufficient thickness in areas where intense pressure may occur.
It is unfortunate that mouth guards have become viewed as a rather generic and universal type of appliance. Athletes of all ages commonly use store-bought models as opposed to those prescribed by their dentist. In fact, commercial mouth guards are so common that many people may not even think of their dentist when in need of this important appliance. Only 10 percent of the mouth guards worn today have been prescribed by a dentist.
MAKE AND MODEL MATTER
There are several reasons a mouth guard should come from your dentist. When prescribing this protective guard, Dr. Ho takes a number of factors into account. These include:
- The type of sport being played
- The age of the athlete
- The developmental stage of teeth (are permanent teeth still growing in?)
- The level of competition of the patient’s selected sport
- Previous injury to teeth, the jaw, or the face
- The presence of orthodontia on teeth
Custom made mouth guards provide the highest amount of protection and are the best choice for most athletic endeavors. A mouth guard prescribed by your dentist will meet the criteria for stability, comfort, retention, and more.
It is possible to enjoy your chosen physical activity while also taking steps to protect teeth, the jaw, and other maxillofacial structures. Visit Dentistry on Parkdale to learn more about custom made mouth guards.
Dr. Karen Ho is a trusted dentist serving patients of all ages in Hamilton, Ontario. Having studied at prestigious institutes such as McMaster University and University of Toronto and trained at Hartford Hospital (General Practice Residency), she opened her private practice in 2003.
Dr. Ho is committed to lifelong learning as she believes that she can serve her community better by constantly updating herself. She is affiliated with many professional organisations like the Academy of General Dentistry, Institute for Clinical Practice of Pediatric Dentistry, The Dawson Academy Study Club, Niagara Peninsula Dental Diagnostic Study Club, Hamilton Chapter of the Seattle Study Club (Founding Member), and Boston and Tufts Universities.