The Olympic Games offers a golden opportunity to discuss athletic mouth guards. Many styles and types exit from off the shelf boil and bite types to custom made pro sport specific.
Most folks usually opt for the least expensive off the shelf. The position of the Academy for Sports Dentistry is “that to be adequate, a mouthguard must be properly fitted and properly worn. In order to ensure a proper fit, a mouthguard is best fitted by a dental professional. It is generally accepted that a custom fitted mouthguard fabricated over a dental cast of the athlete’s teeth will give the best fit.
A mouthguard made by a dental professional can also tailor the mouthguard to the demands of the athlete and the sport. Speech requirements, individual occlusal differences and relative dental and concussion injury risks of each sport can only be customized by fabricating an individual mouthguard. It is difficult to see how an over- the-counter mouthguard can fill all of an athlete’s requirements without being checked and adjusted by an informed dental professional.”
Sports Dentistry gives a shocking statistic and monetary figure if an athlete injures teeth:
” The National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries, Inc. reports several interesting statistics. Dental injuries are the most common type or orofacial injury sustained during participation in sports. Victims of total tooth avulsions who do not have teeth properly preserved or replanted may face lifetime dental costs of $10,000 – $15,000 per tooth, hours in the dentist’s chair, and the possible development of other dental problems such as periodontal disease.”
This does not refer to broken teeth which may require root canals, posts, and crowns. These treatments are also involved, time consuming and expensive. It referred to those teeth that were totally knocked out of the mouth.
Along with dental injury, jaws may break and concussions suffered. Mouthguards mitigate these injuries.
Mouthguards should be worn for all contact sports and any that involve potential jarring of the teeth.
To find more resources see the Academy’s web page.