What is the most important piece of protective sports equipment? A lot of people would probably say a helmet. That answer’s not wrong since helmets prevent sports players from undergoing severe and deadly head injuries. However, for contact sports, mouthguards can be just as crucial to a sports player’s safety as a helmet.
Nearly forty percent of all sports trauma happens in the facial area, which includes various forms of dental trauma. Dentists and athletic coaches understand the importance of proper safety equipment as well as the gravity of injuries to the face, which is why they are so adamant about mouthguards.
As with a helmet, mouthguards need to be fitted so that they can protect you properly. A former president of the Academy of Sports Dentistry, Emilio Canal Jr, DDS, says, “Mouthguards 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 several different types of mouthguards:
Found in most sporting goods stores and pharmacies are stock mouthguards. However, dentists do not recommend this type of mouthguard because it offers little to no protection. Additionally, one can’t alter the fit, which makes it hard to talk and breathe.
Boil and bite mouthguards function exactly as they sound. By boiling them in water, these mouthguards can be molded to best fit the athlete’s particular bite. These kinds of mouthguards can also be found in sporting goods stores.
Personally-fitted mouthguards are the kind of mouthguard dental professionals recommend because they’re individually crafted to fit the athlete. A dentist makes a mold and then sends the mold to a laboratory where the mouthguard is made.
As we go headfirst into the warmer months, always be sure that you and your loved ones are sporting the appropriate protective equipment. The following are a few of the more prevalent dental traumas associated with sports injuries. Speak with Dr. Levine about the different types of mouthguards and ask which one you should use. That way, you can avoid these problems.
- TMJ dislocation
- Crown fractures
- Missing teeth