Injuries are always a major concern for competitive athletes. It’s why hockey players wear masks and why football players wear helmets. And while professional athletes know they need to wear a mouth guard, amateur college and high school athletes might not always be so careful about preventing oral injuries. Dentists strongly recommend putting in a mouth guard as a regular part of your pre-game routine. It can help prevent everything from missing teeth to broken bones.
Requirements of Effective Mouth Guards
There are a few different types of mouth guards, including the “boil and bite” type found in drugstores. But for optimum protection, you’ll need a custom-fitted mouth guard made by a sports dentistry specialist. The ideal mouth guard should be comfortable, fit properly, and avoid interfering with your speech or breathing. There are plenty of other technical considerations, like having the labial flange be within 2 millimeters of the sulcus, but you can let your dentist worry about those specifications.
Mechanism of Action
So how exactly do sports mouth guards prevent orofacial injuries? Primarily, it’s due to shock absorption. When the chin, jaw, or mouth takes a direct hit, the mouth guard reduces the shock and evenly distributes the rest of the impact.
Prevention of Injuries
Dentists recommend custom-fitted mouth guards because they’re effective against a range of sports-related injuries. Since they absorb the impact, they can prevent jaw fractures. They also provide cushioning when the upper and lower jaws collide together, which can prevent the dislocation or fracturing of the jaw joint. Sports-related impacts can cause another type of severe injury to the facial area: Soft tissue injuries. While it won’t protect the skin on the exterior of the mouth, a mouth guard can prevent lacerations inside the mouth.
As the team dentists for the Chicago Blackhawks, University Associates in Dentistry is known for our expertise in sports-related dental care. We take special care with each of our custom-fabricated mouth guards. If you or your child is in need of sports dentistry services near Chicago, give us a call today at (312) 704-5511.