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Fall sports are in full swing but are your children’s teeth properly protected? Sports guards are the best way to protect their smile from injury sustained during sporting activities. According to the American Dental Association, more than 200,000 oral injuries are prevented annually by sports guards. This is a small number considering the National Youth Sports Foundation estimates more than 5 million teeth will be knocked out this year. While many sports require the use of mouth guards to protect the players from injury, there are still many sports that don’t require their use. Activities when sports guards should be considered are the following: Soccer, volleyball, baseball, softball, skateboarding, mountain biking, boxing, hockey, martial arts, and wrestling.

The custom mouth guards are more expensive than the boil-and-bite type that can be purchased at the local sporting goods store. So why use a custom-fitted guard instead of the boil-and-bite type? At the First International symposium on Biomaterials in 1993, Dr. J. Park reported the boil-and-bite guards create a false sense of protection. A dramatic decrease in thickness is caused when the bite is made in the softened material. Consider that the total rehabilitation cost of a knocked-out tooth is more than 20 times the cost of a custom-fit sports guard, and you may realize that the advantages outweigh that cost difference.

The advantages of the custom mouth guards are:

1. The thicker material on the biting surface creates better protection for teeth.
2. The customized fit provides retention in the mouth during collision during high contact sports.
3. A more accurate fit makes the guard more comfortable and easier to tolerate during play.
4. There is less interference with breathing and speaking abilities.
5. The guard can be designed with specific strength and thickness, depending on the activity and age of the user. For example, wrestling and volleyball guards require less material than heavy contact sports, like hockey and martial arts.
6. The guards are made with better shock-absorbing materials and they protect better against concussions.
7. They can be made in different colors and with helmet straps.

Mouth guards are not only recommended for children, but they are also made for adults who are active in sports. Dr. Garpetti and several of our patients have learned the hard way that accidents happen in adult sports and hobbies as well. It is always a good idea to protect your smile from those accidents at any age.

Dr. Garpetti and Dr. Elliott can help custom design a mouth guard specific to your needs. Contact our office today.