Pinnacle Pediatric Dentistry Joi Shaw Morrison, DMD, MSD
3939 Washington Ave,
Suite 240
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 863-PEDO (7336)

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Mouth Guards

Teeth 101

Mouth Guards

Athletic mouth protectors, or mouth guards, are made of soft plastic. They are adapted to fit comfortably to the shape of the upper teeth.   Mouth guards hold top priority as sports equipment. They not only protect the teeth, but the lips, cheeks, and tongue.  They help protect children from such head and neck injuries as concussions and jaw fractures.  Increasingly, organized sports are requiring mouth guards to prevent injury to their athletes.  Research shows that most oral injuries occur when athletes are not wearing mouth protection.  Your child should wear a mouth guard whenever he or she is in an activity with a risk of falls or of head contact with other players or equipment. This includes football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, skateboarding, even gymnastics. We usually think of football and hockey as the most dangerous to the teeth, but nearly half of sports-related mouth injuries occur in basketball and baseball.

Preventing Injuries to the Mouth

An athletic mouth guard can protect your child's teeth, cheeks, lips, gums, and smile.  However, studies have shown that even with a mouth guard in place, up to 25% of dento-alveolar injuries can still occur.  Many experts recommend that a mouth guard be worn for any recreational activity that poses a risk of injury to the mouth.  Sports in which a mouth guard should be worn include (but are not limited to): football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, ice and field hockey, volleyball, gymnastics, boxing, lacrosse, skateboarding, in-line skating, snowboarding, sledding, wrestling and martial arts.

There are 3 types of mouth guards:

  1. Stock mouth guards that are purchased over the counter
  2. Mouth-formed, also known as boil and bite.  These are the most commonly used among athletes, but vary greatly in protection, retention, comfort and cost.
  3. Custom-fabricated mouth guards fabricated by the dentist

The Academy for Sports Dentistry “recommends the use of a properly fitted mouth guard; encourages the use of a custom fabricated mouth guard made over a dental cast and delivered under the supervision of a dentist; and supports a mandate for use of a properly fitted mouth guard in all collision and contact sports.” The most effective mouth guard should be resilient, tear-resistant, and comfortable. It should fit properly, be easy to clean, and not restrict speech or breathing.

 


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