Youth competitive sports has grown steadily over the years and it’s estimated that 20 to 25 million kiddos play them. As a result, sports injuries have also increased. Of those boo-boos, 10-20% of all sports related injuries are maxillofacial related according to the American Dental Association.
Thousands of dollars are spent each year on uniforms, shin guards, wrist pads, helmets and other safety gear to protect young athletes from harm. Just as helmets help protect the child’s head from trauma, mouth guards protect the teeth from serious injury. Sports guards can prevent most knocked-out and broken teeth.
Mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries each year. Sports appliances offer a simple and relatively inexpensive solution to help dramatically decrease the risk of oral injuries. A hard-working appliance holds teeth in place, resists breaking, and allows for normal speech and breathing. It should cover the teeth and, depending on the patient’s bite, also the gums.
There are three types of mouth guards. Boil-and-bite, stock, and custom. Boil-and-bite appliances can be purchased over the counter. They are inexpensive but deteriorate over time which means they may not last the entire season. Stock guards can also be purchased over the counter, however they have a poor fit and can become easily dislodged.
Custom fit appliances are made at your dental office. They are more expensive but the most common mouth guard type because they are patient specific for an accurate fit. Use custom fit guards for the most comfort, and most protection for the most valuable player on the field.
Mouth guards can help prevent injury to your go-getter’s jaw, mouth, and teeth and are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury. Team up with your pediatric dentist to protect your child this school year.