Dental injuries can occur during a variety of activities but outdoor sports season is a high risk time for our kids teeth and jaws. The last thing any of us at Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan want to receive is an emergency phone call for a patient that had a tooth knocked out. It can be a very unpleasant experience, effecting smiling, talking, and eating. Preventing injuries during contact sports is surprisingly easy and is important for your child’s overall oral safety.
Mouthguards, or mouth protectors, help to cushion the blow from active sport contact to the face and jaw to reduce the odds of concussion while also minimizing the chances of experiencing a cracked, chipped, or avulsed (knocked out) tooth. One of the easiest things you can do is to provide your child with a mouth guard. Mouthguards prevent thousands of mouth injuries every year. They are your child’s best bet for mouth safety.
Mouthguards are generally recommended for football, basketball, hockey, lacrosse, and less commonly for soccer. Interestingly, soccer players are actually more at risk for dental injury than football players. Football/hockey/lacrosse players are usually required to wear a mouth guard and of course wear helmets, where soccer players usually do not face that same requirement. Challenges for balls in the air where hands are clearly not allowed and impact from headers make soccer particularly dangerous once play becomes more aggressive as kids grow older.
There are four types of mouthguards to consider: stock mouthguards, mouth-formed protectors, and custom-made mouth protectors, and those that accommodate orthodontic tooth movement
Stock mouthguards can be bought off the shelf at a sporting goods store. These have minimal protection, as they are not fitted to your child’s teeth.
Mouth-formed protectors can also be bought at a sporting goods store. They take the protection to the next level by boiling the mouthguard and fitting it to your child’s bite which provides a more reliable cushion between upper and lower teeth while ensuring it is in the right spot on the teeth if there is a blow to the jaws.
We believe that the custom-made mouth protectors are the best choice, especially for athletes that have completed orthodontic treatment. Protecting the investment made on a beautifully aligned, properly fitting set of teeth is a no-brainer and a mouthguard made after braces will last for quite some time as we should not expect teeth to move after orthodontic treatment if retainers are properly worn.
Custom mouthguards can be made through our dental office and will be custom fit using our digital scanner and 3D printing technology. This is the best kind of mouthguard as it properly fits the teeth, stays in place while communicating with teammates, is lower profile, and works as a retainer while being worn due to the custom fit.
The last type of mouthguard is for people who wear braces. As you can imagine, during orthodontic treatment, the teeth are constantly on the move toward a straighter position. Therefore, custom molded mouthguards are not practical. Our office carries a line of Shock Doctor mouthguards custom designed to fit around teeth that are on the move. We can help you choose the right mouthguard for your mouth size and sport. Please inquire when you are at your next visit.
Our office also specializes in providing orthodontic tooth movement with clear aligners such as Invisalign. These aligners can be worn during contact sports much like a mouthguard. So if you are an athlete evaluating orthodontic options and you are a good candidate for treatment using Invisalign, you may have a built in mouthguard while you straighten your teeth.
After we deliver the mouthguard we will also guide you on how to properly care for your mouthguard and monitor it for wear and tear that might make it necessary to replace it. Keep them clean between games by rinsing them before and after each use. You can clean them in warm, soapy water. Bring your mouthguard to your regular dental checkups so your dentist can give it a thorough cleaning and take a look at it. Use the container provided, and never leave it in the sun or hot water.
Please do not hesitate to ask us about creating a custom made mouthguard today or at your next visit in our office.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Delaney, Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. The ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.