It is estimated that over 5 million teeth are knocked out yearly and a significant portion of these dental traumas occur on the playing field or court. Each dislodged tooth requires several trips to the dentist and hundreds of dollars in restoration expenses. Not to mention pain!
I’m Dr. Martin Buchheit of Koch Park Dental – Martin L. Buchheit, DDS and I want to raise awareness of the importance of athletic mouth protection. I advise my patients to think of mouthguards as an important part of their protective gear. Most parents require their children to wear helmets when biking and shinguards while playing soccer. I encourage parents to emphasize the importance of mouth protection from your child’s very first 5 year-old T-ball game. And we all need to practice what we preach.
The main types of mouthguards include: ready-to-wear, boil and bite, and custom-fitted. Stock mouth protectors are pre-formed, but are definitely not one-size-fits all, and probably provide the least amount of protection. (Though they are better than nothing.)
You can find boil and bite mouth protectors at sporting goods stores. Soften them in water before forming them to your mouth (follow the manufacturer’s instructions).
Some dentists offer custom sports mouthguards that provide the highest level of protection and comfort. Mouth protectors that are comfortable are more likely to be worn by kids who complain about wearing a mouthguard. Ask your dentist about custom mouthguards.
Mouth protection is extremely important for patients with braces or fixed bridge work. Some orthodontists recommend mouth protectors for lower teeth as well.
If you or your child has a sports-related dental emergency, call my Florissant office immediately at 314-837-7744. I will do everything in my power to save the tooth but every second counts. Make sure you save all pieces of the tooth and bring them with you.