It is estimated that over 5 million teeth are knocked out yearly and a significant portion of these dental traumas occur on the playing field or court. Each dislodged tooth requires several trips to the dentist and hundreds of dollars in restoration expenses. Not to mention pain!
I’m Dr. Brett Felton of Felton Dental Care – Dr. Brett R. Felton, DMD and I want to raise awareness of the importance of athletic mouth protection. I advise my patients to think of mouth guards as an important part of their protective gear.
Most parents require their children to wear helmets when biking and shin guards while playing soccer. I encourage parents to emphasize the importance of mouth protection from your child’s very first 5 year-old T-ball game.
You are probably aware of the main types of mouth guards: ready-to-wear, boil and bite, and custom-fitted. The stock mouth protectors are pre-formed but are definitely not one-size-fits all and probably provide the least amount of protection. (Though they are better than nothing.)
You can find boil and bite mouth protectors at sporting goods stores. They are to be softened in water and then formed to the mouth (follow the manufacturer’s instructions).
Custom sports mouthguards provide the highest level of protection and comfort. Mouth protectors that are comfortable are more likely to be worn by kids who complain about wearing a mouthguard. Ask your dentist about custom mouthguards.
Mouth protection is extremely essential for patients with braces or fixed bridge work. Some orthodontists recommend mouth protectors for lower teeth as well.
If you or your child has a sports-related dental emergency, call my Missoula office immediately at 406-728-0896. Make sure you save all pieces of the tooth and bring them with you.