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Athletic Mouth Protectors

Now that the school year is in full swing, student athletes are heading to practice and beginning their fall season sports. While helmets, pads, and other protective sports equipment seem like obvious necessities, there’s one more piece of athletic gear you need to make sure you’re not forgetting: your athletic mouthguard.

According to the National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries, dental injuries are among the most common sports-related injuries in children participating in sports activities. The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that more than 200,000 dental and orofacial injuries are prevented each year using custom athletic mouthguards, saving families hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.


When considering recommendations, an ideal mouthguard:
protects the teeth, soft tissue, bone structure, and temporomandibular joints
diminishes the incidence of concussions and neck injuries
exhibits protective properties that include high power absorption and power distribution throughout the expansion
provides a high degree of comfort and fit to the maxillary arch
remains securely and safely in place during action
allows speaking and does not limit breathing
is durable, resilient, tear resistant, odorless, and tasteless
There are three different types of mouth guards available to athletes.

Stock mouthguard
The stock mouthguard is available at most sporting good stores, come in limited sizes (usually small, medium, and large) and are the least expensive and least protective. They are bulky and lack any retention, and therefore must be held in place by constantly biting down. It has been suggested and advised in the medical/dental literature that these types of mouthguards not be worn due to their lack of retention and protective properties. As dentists and health professionals interested in injury prevention, we do not recommend this type of mouthguard to our patients and athletic teams.

Mouth-Formed Protectors
There are two types of mouth-formed protectors: the shell-liner and the thermoplastic mouthguard. The shell-liner type is made of a preformed shell with a liner of plastic acrylic or silicone rubber. The lining material is placed in the player’s mouth, molds to the teeth and then is allowed to set. The preformed thermoplastic lining (also known as “boil and bite”) is immersed in boiling water for 10 to 45 seconds, transferred to cold water and than adapted to the teeth. This mouthguard seems to be the most popular of the three types and is used by more than 90 percent of the athletic population.

Custom Made Mouth Protectors
This is the superior of the three types and the most expensive to the athlete. Most parents will spend quite a bit of money on athletic shoes, but might not think about protecting their child’s teeth. This mouthguard is made of thermoplastic polymer and fabricated over a model of the athlete’s dentition. The mouthguard is made by the dentist and fits exactly to the athlete’s mouth. The advantages include: fit, ease of speech, comfort and retention. By wearing a protective mouthguard, the incidence of a concussion by a blow to the jaw is significantly reduced because the condyle is separated form the base of the skull by placing the mandible in a forward position.

At Shamblott Family Dentistry we are offering custom mouth protectors for all students athletes. Call Shamblott Family Dentistry today for more information on how we can protect your family’s smiles! Call 952-935-3559.

Photo Credits – Tanitayans @ Dreamstime.com

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