How Custom-Made Mouthguards Can Help Minimize Concussion Risk

Every parent knows that sports mouthguards are essential to prevent serious injuries to their kids’ teeth and gums. The American Dental Association reports that 15 million Americans of all ages suffer from dental injuries annually, resulting in the loss of five million teeth. Many others suffer from chipped or cracked teeth, dislocation of the jaw, and harm to gums and other soft tissue. Wearing a mouthguard makes all the difference in preventative care and protecting the player from the damage a blow can do.

A clinical trial recently also showed that wearing a specific type of mouthguard can protect someone from concussion. In the peer-reviewed journal General Dentistry, a study was reported of 412 players on six high school football teams. All wore the same helmet, but three teams were given over-the-counter mouthguards, while the other three wore custom-made ones from a dental office.

Those who wore the OTC mouthguards ended up with 8.3 percent suffering from mild traumatic brain injuries. Those who wore the dental version had just 3.6 percent such injuries. Dr. Jackson Winters, the lead author of the study and a pediatric dentist, is also a former high school and college sports official. He commented, “Consumers may believe that today’s advanced helmet design provides sufficient protection, but our research indicates that, when compared to over-the-counter versions, a custom-made, properly fitted mouthguard also is essential to player safety.”

The California Dental Association has advised that it is important for everyone to wear mouthguards in even non-contact sports like baseball, gymnastics, volleyball, bicycling, and skateboarding.

The problem with OTC mouthguards is that they either are ready-to-wear and do not fit properly or designed to be put into boiling water and then placed in the mouth for form around the teeth, which loses its shape quickly. Neither provides the protection level that a professionally custom-made one does. Mouthguards also need to be remade from time to time to accommodate growth spurts and new dental work. It is important to choose a dental office with lots of experience in making these. Custom-made mouthguards and night guards can make it easy to breathe and speak and will hold their form a long time.

Call our dentist for an appointment to have your child or anyone in your family who plays any kind of sport examined for what type of mouthguard they may need. We happily serve the areas of Manhattan Beach, Torrance, Marina Del Rey, Torrance, South Bay, Hawthorne, Lawndale, Gardena, and more. It is also a good opportunity to also have a digital (low radiation) x-ray and general dental checkup to be sure there are not invisible health issues with your teeth and jawbone.

Dr. Erick Gutierrez

Author Dr. Erick Gutierrez

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