The mania for mouthguards here at Children’s Dentistry in Orlando, has kept many children from losing teeth and bone. You see, a mania for mouthguards is far better than a mania for maxillo-facial surgery for broken bones of the face and lost or fractured teeth.
Another Mania: A Special Time for Spring Sports
It is a new season for certain spring-time sport. Have you heard the whir of a fast ball or the crack of a bat in the distance? George is a grandfather now, but he has always loved baseball and those sounds wake up his joy every year.
The crack of the bat also makes his jaw throb a little. You see, almost 20 years ago he heard that sound. And fresh off the bat, the baseball hit him in the face with the speed of a leather-wrapped bullet. It broke both his jaws, his nose, his orbital socket, and he lost 3 very important teeth. Amazingly that fastball did not kill his love for the game. His grandchildren are avid players now. He warns them to be careful as he rubs his old injured jaw and sucks on his permanent dental implants.
Our Mania Has A Real Basis
Our mania for wearing mouthguards has a real basis and it’s not just in George’s lifelong aches and jaw pains. “The American Academy of Otolaryngology says that, when a ball hits your upper face, it can fracture the delicate bones around the sinuses and eye sockets, sometimes resulting in vision loss.” They add, “When the ball hits your lower face, it may change how your jaw is situated or break your teeth. Nasal injuries can be among the most serious, especially if they result in breathing difficulties.”
It is not hard to recognize that teeth, tongue, and bone must be protected. Your pediatric dentist brings you the first-line defense from baseball season, a custom-made mouth-guard. It’s designed individually to jacket every tooth against destruction as well as protect bones and gums. Now we know it’s more expensive to buy a custom-fitted dental mouthguard than the Big Box mouthguards. But it fits better, and because a custom-fitted mouthguard is more comfortable, kids will wear it more often. That is one of the reasons why the doctor and his staff have an absolute mania for them.
Beneath Our Mania, the Truth behind Big Box Mouthguards:
When we tell you about the Mouthguards at Dentistry for Children, we are not talking about the Big Box Store, Over-the-counter mouthguards. We are talking about a very personalized, meticulously 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!
As we have in a previous blog many months ago, let’s now review the Requirements of a good mouthguard, according to “The Academy for Sports Dentistry.”
- It should be created with the material of 3 mm thickness. On the one hand, the materials used will have, “the greatest durability and allow your child to sustain the hardest impacts with a lower risk of damage…”
- At Dentistry for Children, we like to elaborate, We say, “On the other hand, these materials will be comfortable to the mouth, teeth and gums. It should be carefully fitted from a dental mold of your child’s teeth.
Your Dental Home Creates the Best Mouthguards!
Our mania for mouthguards makes us make the fit of each one absolutely precise. Notice too, how it covers the teeth all the way at the back of your child’s mouth, and comfortably. Some Big Box Guards do not go all the way back to cover back teeth. (How do they rationalize that, anyway.) Others cover the back teeth so uncomfortably they actually initiate the gag reflex, so what child will ever faithfully wear them?
- It should be checked, properly fitted, refined and delivered under the supervision of a dentist. We Have A Mania Against Risking Baseball or Softball or Any Sport without a Custom Mouthguard:
- We hate to nag you, but with one of those Big Box, over the counter, do it yourself mouthguards, you might find uneven material, even sub-standard material. You will probably find a fit that is uncomfortably tight or loose. It might not even be structured for comfortable breathing.
Is Our Mouthguard Mania Out of Control?
We don’t think so, and George in our story at the beginning of the blog agrees. 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. And repair is expense. It only takes one baseball injury to weaken, distort and forever alter the bones of the face and jaw. Just ask George.
So Why Do Parents Object?
Spring is a busy time. Thus we find the main objection to customized mouthguards is that they must be cast. Then you must wait, and then it must be fitted. In the words of more than one parent, “It all just seems like an awful lot of trouble, bother and fuss.”
Now we know that 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, cheap and in a shiny box. Did you know they are almost never comfortable? The material is often thin. Thus, bone and gum tissue could still be injured. Likewise, you don’t really want your child to wear a mouthguard that could fall out just as he is reaching for a high fly ball or she is sliding into home plate.
Oh, and you certainly do not want a mouthguard that, on impact, might slide down into your child’s throat.
We Have a Mania for Statistical Proof: Making a Difference on Mouthguards
Once before we were impressed with the research below. Although it was done on a basketball team, we think it is valid for any sport. Let’s review a few of the resulting statistics:
- 31% of the surveyed Florida varsity basketball players actually sustained oro-facial injuries during the season.
- 53% had more than one injury during the season.
- Fewer than 50% of the 1,020 players wore their mouthguards.
- Only 2 of the injuries did not require professional attention.
So this study points out the dangers in sports, to mouths and teeth, faces and jaws. Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, also states the importance of wearing a mouthguard for sports with either physical contact or fast-moving objects. He says: “In many cases, knocked out teeth, or teeth that have been chipped or damaged through trauma can be avoided by wearing a mouthguard.”
And he adds, “Damage to your mouth can be extremely distressing, and the treatment to fix it might be costly. Any injury might also affect how you smile and could have an effect on your appearance.”
He also explained, “Mouthguards should not be optional but absolutely essential when it comes to adults and children participating in activities and sports that involve physical contact or fast-moving objects.”
Tremendous Toothy Take-Aways
And we have said, “Ultimately, most parents come to the conclusion that is better to invest in a custom mouth guard now than oro-facial repair and dental restoration later.” This year, we add, “ Just remind your child not to lose it.”
Your best option is to tell us here at your dental home, Dentistry for Children, when your child is ready to sign up for a sport.
We will guard his precious teeth, gums and facial bone with the best space-age substance known to technology. And we will use the highest degree of training and technique available in 21st-century pediatric dentistry for the fitting.
Oh, by the way, George brought both his grandson and his granddaughter into the office this week for their mouthguard fittings. It seems he bought himself a new baseball mitt also. Yes, we fitted out Grandpa George with a mouthguard of his very own. His grandson is a junior high varsity pitcher, and his Granddaughter has talked him into being an umpire for 5th-grade girls’ softball. We don’t want George to have another accident while practicing with him.
Thank you for reading our blog at Dentistry for Children, and please forgive our Mouthguard mania. We have only your child’s best interest at heart.