What is the most important type of protective sports equipment? Most would probably agree on a helmet. That answer isn't wrong, especially since helmets stop athletes from undergoing severe and deadly head trauma. But, for contact sports, mouth guards
can be just as important to a sports player's well-being as a helmet.
Approximately 40% of all sports injuries happen in the facial region, which includes various forms of dental trauma. Athletic coaches and dentists realize how important it is to teach sports players about the importance of proper safety equipment and the gravity of injuries to the face, which is why they are so adamant about mouth guards.
Just like a helmet, mouth guards need to be fitted in order for them to protect you properly. A former president of the Academy of Sports Dentistry
, Emilio Canal Jr., DDS
, says, “Mouth guards are protective safety equipment in sports, so they need to be properly fitted. It's no different than a helmet...You're not going to give a football player a helmet that's five times bigger than what he needs, because he's going to run around and it will be moving all over the place. If he gets hit, it's not going to protect him.”There are 3 different kinds of mouth guards:
Stock mouth guards can be found in most sporting goods stores and pharmacies. However, dentists do not recommend this type of mouth guard because they offer little to no protection. Furthermore, one cannot alter the fit, making it tough to talk and breathe.
Boil and bite mouth guards function exactly as they sound. By boiling the thermoplastic material in water, these mouth guards can be shaped to best fit the athlete's particular bite. You can also find this type of mouth guard at sporting goods stores.
Custom-fitted mouth guards are the type of mouth guard dentists recommend because they're crafted individually to fit the athlete. A dentist takes an impression of the athlete's teeth and the impression is shipped to a dental lab where the mouth guard is created.
As we go headfirst into the summer months
, always ensure that you and your family are wearing the proper protective equipment. The following are a few of the more common dental issues related to sports injuries. Speak with Dr. Hill about the various types of mouth guards and ask which one you should use. That way, you can avoid these issues.
. TMJ dislocation
. Missing teeth
. Crown fractures