Here at Children’s Dentistry in Orlando, we feel compelled to keep up with sports In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter stories.
Played without an athletic mouthguard, every young student wizard enjoys the mythical sport of Quidditch.
The young athletes ride high flying, fast broomsticks and chase a tiny golden winged magic ball. We have searched the official Quidditch equipment information and we highly approve of the shin guards and the elaborate padded leather forearm protectors.
However, we know of only one member of the team who wears a leather helmet. As we stated above, we could find no evidence that any of the team members, in either school matches or professional games, wear a custom mouthguard.
Of course, it must be assumed they use magic to protect teeth, gums and bone!
Real World vs. Harry Potter’s Realm
It seems true to remark that if pediatric dentists of the 21st century real world were to have their way, we would add one more piece of equipment to the Quidditch ensemble: the custom mouthguard.
Putting the Wizarding World aside, we have plenty of sports in the Real World that should require this almost magical piece of athletic equipment: Football, Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Soccer, wrestling, and the list goes on to include just about every athletic school activity.
The Truth behind Big Box Mouthguards:
Let us clarify the fact that we are not talking about the Big Box Store, Over-the-counter mouthguards. We are talking about a very personalized, carefully fitted mouthguard, created by a dentist, specifically for your child’s teeth and no one else’s mouth.
Store-bought Guard vs. Dentist-created Guard: No Comparison!
Let’s look at the Requirements of a good mouthguard, according to “The Academy for Sports Dentistry.”
1. It should be created with material 3 mm thick. On the one hand, the materials used will have, “the greatest durability and allow your child to sustain the hardest impacts with lower risk of damage…” On the other hand, these materials will be comfortable to the mouth, teeth and gums.
2. The custom mouthguard should be carefully fitted from a dental mold of your child’s teeth. The fit is absolutely precise and it covers the teeth all the way at the back of your child’s mouth.
3. It should be checked, properly fitted, refined and delivered only under the supervision of a dentist.
The Risks of Sports without a Custom Mouthguard:
It is not a question of whether your child needs a mouthguard, but rather that he needs a custom made mouthguard that only belongs to him. With one of those over the counter, do-it-yourself mouthguards, you might find uneven material, sub-standard material, and fit that is uncomfortably tight or loose. It might not even be structured for comfortable breathing.
We do not mean to frighten you, but we want you to be aware that there is more at stake than a chipped tooth. Serious damage can happen to teeth and gums can be destroyed. Most serious of all, supporting bone could be distorted, weakened and altered forever.
The main objection to customized mouthguards is that the casting, the waiting, the fitting, all just seems like an awful lot of trouble, bother and fuss to some parents.
No one likes to interrupt their schedule by driving back and forth to the dentist. However, we have seen what happens with the DIY versions of mouthguards:
The Big Box mouthguards might be quick but they are almost never comfortable. The material is often thin. Thus, bone and gum tissue could still be injured. Teeth could be lost. Likewise, you don’t really want your child to wear a mouthguard that could fall out during a third quarter push in a football game.
And you certainly do not want a mouthguard that, on impact, might slide down into your child’s throat.
Special Statistics: Making a Difference on Mouthguards
A research study conducted on high school varsity basketball teams in Florida assessed the benefit of mouthguard use in sports. Let’s look at a few of the resulting mouth injury statistics:
1. 31% of the surveyed Florida varsity basketball players actually sustained facial injuries during the season.
2. 53% had more than one injury during the season.
3. Fewer than 50% of the 1,020 players wore their mouthguards.
4. Only 2 of the injuries did not require professional attention.
Ultimately, most parents come to the conclusion that is better to invest in a customized mouth guard now, than facial repair and dental restoration later.
So your best option is to tell us here at your dental home, Children’s Dentistry, when your child is ready to sign up for a sport. We will guard his precious teeth, gums and facial bone to the highest ability of 21st century pediatric dentistry—unless, of course, he signs up for flying Quidditch.