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MOUTHGUARDS

Craniofacial injury may be reduced through health education that promotes the use of protective gear in sports

Playsafe Mouthguards

The American Dental Association recommends mouthguards for the following sports:

Acrobatics Basketball Boxing Discus Throwing Field Hockey Football Gymnastics Handball Ice Hockey Lacrosse Martial Arts Racquetball Rugby Shotputting Skateboarding Snowboarding Skiing Skydiving Soccer Squash Surfing Volleyball Water Polo Weightlifting Wrestling

     More than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year resulting in nearly $500 million spent on replacing these teeth each year.  13-39% of all dental injuries are sports related.  Males are traumatized twice as often as females with the maxillary central incisors being the most commonly injured tooth.

A mouthguard may prevent serious injuries such as concussions and jaw fractures by helping to avoid situations where the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw.

The more active you are, the more you need to wear them.  Anyone including children and adults who
 are physically active and play contact sport should wear one!

     Facts About Traumatic Tooth Injuries

  1. Half of all children will suffer a traumatic injury to a tooth by the time they graduate high school.  Injuries range from minor chips and cracks to teeth knocked out of the socket.
  2. Sports activities, like the sports listed above, cause the greatest percentage of traumatic injuries.
  3. Males have traditionally suffered traumatic tooth injuries two to three times more often than females, but this is changing.
  4. A tooth that is avulsed can be reimplanted, treated with a root canal procedure and last for many years if the tooth is kept moist in milk or liquid and treated quickly.
  5. Half of all avulsed teeth that are reimplanted last 20 years.
  6. The number of traumatic tooth injuries could be decreased if more children wore custom filled mouthguards during sports activities**
What is a mouthguard?

A mouthguard is a flexible appliance made out of plastic that is worn in athletic and recreational activities to protect teeth from trauma

Current reports state that most accidents to the mouth occur in basketball and soccer, protect your mouth with a mouthguard

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Why should I wear a mouthguard?
To protect your mouth from  the injuries listed below. The dental profession unanimously supports the use of mouthguards in a variety of sports activities.

Custom-made mouthguards are better than store-bought because they conform to your actual bite and are made of more durable material!

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What kinds of injuries can a mouthguard prevent?

 Mouthguards can prevent serious injuries such as:

  1. Lacerations to lip, cheek and chin
  2. Fractures of the facial bones especially the check bones and mandible which can cause facial deformity
  3. Possible permanent injury to the jaw joints
  4. Broken teeth
  5. Tooth knocked out or displaced from its socket
  6. Concussions  
  7. Cerebral hemorrhages
  8. Incidents of unconsciousness
  9. Neck injuries by helping to avoid situations where the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw
  10. Preventing laceration and bruising of the lips and cheeks, especially for those who wear orthodontic appliances

Young children, in particular, often sustain damaged or dislodged teeth, fractured jaws and lacerated lips when participating in sports.

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In what types of sports should I wear a mouthguard?

Anytime there is a strong chance for contact with other participants or hard surfaces, it is advisable to wear a mouthguard. Players who participate:

bulletbasketball
bulletskiing
bulletsoftball
bulletwrestling
bulletsoccer
bullet lacrosse
bullet rugby
bullet in-line skating
bullet martial arts
bullet  recreational sports such as:
bullet skateboarding
bullet bicycling should wear mouthguards while competing.

Skiing, bicycling and SOCCER are the three most frequent causes of sports accidents~

Currently, five sports at the amateur level require mouthguards during practice and competition: 

bulletboxing,
bulletfootball,
bulletice hockey,
bulletmen's lacrosse 
bulletwomen's field hockey

Sports related injuries accounted for 3x more facial/dental injuries than violence or traffic accidents and 6x more than work related accidents!~

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Aren't mouthguards only for football and hockey players?
Recent findings show that soccer players are more likely than football players to sustain an orofacial injury and only 7% of the participants wear them

In basketball, a player's risk is twice that of a football player of an injury and yet only 7% of the baseball or even softball players wear mouth guards. Basketball players who do not wear mouthguards have a seven fold increase in chances of orofacial injury.

More people currently participate in organized soccer than in competitive football, where mouthguards are  not mandatory.  Even in football, a sport requiring protective gear, only about 75% of the athletes wear their mouth guard.

Since 1962 when it became a requirement to wear mouth guards in high school and college football during practice session and competition the percentage of orofacial injuries dropped from 50% to.5%

Children between the ages of 7-10 have the highest number of injuries in unorganized sporting accidents with basketball causing the most of these injuries followed by biking and hockey.

The highest incidence of all sport-related injury 
occurred between 10-19 age group
~

Mouthguards prevent between 100,000 to 200,000 oral injuries per year in professional football alone.

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Why don't kids wear mouthguards?
  1. Parents are sometimes uninformed about the level of contact and potential for serious dental injuries involved with sports in which the child participates. 
  2.  Schools don't reinforce the health advantage of mouthguards for their contact sports. 
  3. Cost may be another consideration although mouthguards come in a variety of price ranges.  
  4. Perception that females are less aggressive and less at risk of injury.
  5. Coaches unaware of the importance of use of mouthguards.

32% of all injuries occurred in women/girls and 68% in men/boys

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What are the different types of mouthguards?

The ideal mouthguard:

bulletProtects teeth, soft tissue, bone structure, and TM joints
bulletDiminishes incidence of concussions and neck injuries
bulletHigh power absorption and power distribution throughout expansion
bulletHigh degree of comfort and fit to maxillary arch
bulletRemains securely and safely in place during action
bulletAllow speaking and does not limit breathing
bulletIs durable, resilient, tear resistant, odorless and tasteless

Stock mouthguard: The lowest cost option is a stock item, which offers the least protection. A stock mouthguard is not considered acceptable as an facial protective device 

bulletAdvantage: inexpensive
bulletDisadvantages: Limited sized
bulletlimited sizes
bulletdo not fit well
bulletinhibit speech
bulletinhibit breathing
bulletrequire the jaws to be closed to hold the guard in place
bulletuncomfortable causing players not to wear them
bulletno fit adjustment

Mouth-formed protectors: These mouthguards come as a shell-liner and "boil-and-bite" product. The shell is lined with acrylic or rubber. When placed in an athlete's mouth, the protector's lining material molds to the teeth and is allowed to set.

The lining of the "boil-and-bite" mouthguard is immersed in boiling water for 10-45 seconds, transferred to cold water and then adapted to the teeth. The "boil-and-bite" mouthguard is used by more than 90 percent of athletes who use mouthguards. 

bulletAdvantage:
bulletThey are less expensive than custom-made guards
bulletThey give more protection than not wearing any kind of  mouthguard at all
bulletDisadvantage:
bulletThe fit is not as good
bulletThey do not last as long 
bulletThey become loose with wear.

A top quality custom made mouth guard costs between $45 and $120. 
The price of not using the best protective mouth guard can be enormous. 
The cost of replacing a single tooth can be up to $4,000 and may cost
more than $20,000 over a lifetime with replacement and maintenance

Custom-made mouth protectors: The best choice is a mouthguard custom-made by your dentist. It offers:

bulletAdvantages:
bulletbest protection by reducing:
bulletthe chance of concussion and brain damage
bulletthe chance of cuts, bruises, and disfigurement to the mouth and face
bullet

the chance of jaw dislocation and jaw fracturing

bullet

the chance of teeth being lost or fractured

bulletmost comfortable
bulletcustom fitted
bulletenable you to be more competitive, because you can perform with confidence
bulletleast likely to interfere with speech or breathing
bulletDisadvantage:
bulletexpense

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How should I care for a mouthguard?
bulletClean your mouthguard by washing it with soap and warm (not hot) water.
bulletFor more tips on mouthguard home care visit:

Mouthguard Home Care

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How often should I replace my child's mouthguard?

Depending on the child's growth, mouthguards may need to be replaced once a year

Mouth Guards- Protectors Updates

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~Dentofacial Trauma in Sport Accidents; Dr. Tuli, Dr. Hachl, Fr. Hohlriender, Dr. Grubwieser, Fr. Gassner; General Dentistry. pgs 274-280; May June 2002
Academy of General Dentistry.
What you must know about mouthguards.  Ms Smith, Ms Kracher.  Dental Equipment and Materials Vol 7.1 January 2002 pg. 32-37.
** Gutmann JL, Gutmann MSE, Cause, incidence, and prevention of trauma to teeth. Dental Clin North Am 1995; 39 1-13.

February 06, 2008

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