According to a 1995 study, only .07 percent of football injuries were orofacial (related to the mouth or face). The number was significantly higher in other sports, like basketball at 34 percent, where mouthguards are not customarily worn. The National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries, Inc. reports that dental injuries are the most common type sustained. They result in lifetime dental costs averaging $10,000 to $15,000, hours of time in the dentist’s chair, and increased risk of collateral problems like gum disease.
In addition, the American Dental Association estimates that mouthguards are responsible for preventing about 200,000 injuries each year just in high school and college football. There’s simply no good argument for failing to wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or other activities where there is a chance of facial trauma. The question becomes, “Which type of mouthguard should I buy?” The answer could easily be, “How much is your appearance, comfort, performance, and brain function worth to you?”
Pre-formed (or stock) mouth protectors are inexpensive and sold in several sizes. They are bulky and fit poorly, thus providing little genuine protection. They tear quite easily, trigger gagging in some wearers, and inhibit speaking and natural breathing.
An adaptive (also called mouth-formed or boil-and-bite) mouthguard is available at most sporting goods stores. It is made from a thermoplastic material that softens in warm water. You form it to the shape of your mouth with fingers, tongue, and bite pressure – not a very scientific or precise method. This type usually doesn’t have sufficient extension to cover back teeth, so there’s little or no concussion protection from a blow to the chin.
Smart patients in the Cincinnati area protect their lips, cheeks, gums, and teeth, and reduce the risk of concussion with custom-made mouthguards from a dentist. The doctors at West Chester Dental Group have special training in designing custom-fit mouthguards. They are a little more expensive than the other types, but it is an investment in your safety and health.
The dentist takes careful impressions of your mouth, and uses these molds to create a mouthguard from a flexible material. Since it is designed especially for you, it fits comfortably and stays in place providing superior protection to teeth and soft tissues. You can speak when wearing it, and breathe and swallow normally. Because it isn’t awkward, you’ll be more inclined to use it regularly. A custom-fitted mouthguard also helps to reduce chance and severity of traumatic brain injury from sports-related accidents.
You usually need a custom mouthguard only for your upper teeth. However, if you have dental appliances on your lower arch, we can also design a mouthguard to protect that area.
Call West Chester Dental Group today at 513-942-8181 to learn more about orofacial protection that works!
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