Hey Sports Fans! April is Protect Your Mouth From Trauma Month! Did you know that sports cause one third of all dental injuries, and that approximately 5 million teeth are knocked out every year? Since the Super Bowl, (second quarter) I have replaced, removed, stitched up and splinted dental injuries from trampolines to baseballs. I’ve also made dozens of Mouthguards since then for karate, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, and basketball, so let me tell you what I know.
The Best mouthguards will be tight fitting like a retainer, impact resistant, and comfortable- meaning a kid can drink and yell with them in place. A thermoplastic custom mouthguard made from an orthodontic quality impression does all these things. They are usually dual ply, meaning it has one layer that molds to the exact contours of the teeth (formed with over 87 psi), and a second layer that assures the MG is uniformly thick enough to protect the teeth and supporting bone from a direct blow to the mouth or chin. Kids can have their name or logo added.
The Compromise- For non-impact sports, a thermoplastic single ply, meaning only one layer is molded to the exact contours of the teeth, is the mouthguard of choice. It is less thick, so less able to protect the teeth from a direct hit. They are thinner, so less bulky in the mouth and easier to talk or yell with. Often called the quarterback MG. (Think Russell Wilson) These also require a lab or dentist with special training to make, but compared to a broken tooth, they are cheap!
The Worst- The other type of custom mouthguard is vacuum formed. It molds so loosely to the teeth it needs the palate to help hold it in place. Multiple studies have shown these mouthguards are non- protective. I admit to making these a couple of years back and thinking they were adequate, but I was wrong. I put my vacuum former in storage. Don’t let someone make you one of these for your kids. Even free is not free if your kiddo gets hit in the mouth.
The Fraudulant- The store bought mouthguard industry is unregulated and unsafe and unbelievably profitable. The very cheapest boil and bite mouthguards are better than the fancy colored ones with different flavors and claims of superiority. You know the brands I am talking about that lure the kids to them and reassure parents with statements like “guaranteed, customizable and prevents concussions.” All of these claims ( even for the $75 ones) are misleading and dangerous. If a retainer requires a dental license and prescription to make, why would a shoe company be allowed to make and sell mouthguards? The worst of the worst is that brand of perforated plastic you dip in warm water and have the kids shape it to their teeth with their fingers. I want to scream when I see those!
Okay, enough of that. I am now out of breath and foaming at the mouth. Enough working out for one day. If you have questions email be at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love what I do, and I love helping you raise healthy and happy world class athletes that will someday ask me to be their team dentist.