Every April, National Facial Protection Month strives to raise public awareness and remind parents, coaches, and athletes to play it safe while playing sports.
Kelly Orthodontics would like to take the time this month to remind our athletes to wear a mouthguard during recreational and organized sports. A mouthguard is used to protect your mouth from injury when you are participating in sports.
A mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age when it comes to protecting your mouth. Mouthguards prevent injuries to the bone and tissues around the teeth. They also help prevent injuries to the lower jaw and temporomandibular joint in the jaw.
A properly fitted mouthguard may be especially important for people who wear braces. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouthguard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, which will help you avoid injuries to your gums and cheeks. An effective mouthguard should be comfortable, resist tears, be durable and easy to clean, and should not restrict your breathing or speech.
There are three types of mouthguards:
- Stock mouthguards are preformed and come ready to wear. They are inexpensive and can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. However, little can be done to adjust their fit.
- Boil and bite mouthguards can also be purchased at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth guards. The "boil and bite" mouthguard is made from thermoplastic material. It is placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure.
- Custom-fitted mouthguards are individually designed and made in an orthodontic office. First, Dr. Kelly will make an impression of your teeth and then mold the mouthguard over the model using a special material. Custom-made mouthguards provide the most comfort and protection.
Mouthguards aren’t required for every sport, so it can be easy to forget about wearing them. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), more than 200,000 oral injuries are prevented each year by wearing a mouthguard. Mouthguards help prevent chipped, broken, and knocked out teeth. They protect your lips, tongue, face, and also help redistribute forces from a blow to the head. While a mouthguard won’t prevent a concussion, it can reduce the severity of the injury.
Who Needs a Mouthguard?
Mouthguards should be used by anyone playing contact sports such as football, boxing, soccer, ice hockey, basketball, lacrosse, and field hockey. However, even those participating in non-contact sports and any recreational activity that might pose a risk of injury to the mouth would benefit from wearing a protective mouth guard.
If you're an athlete and a patient at Kelly Orthodontics, talk to Dr. Kelly and his team about selecting a mouthguard that will provide the right protection for you. For more information give us a call at our St. Charles office at (630) 584-9666. Our friendly and knowledgeable team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.