In the past few decades youth and adolescent sports programs have exploded. Each year 20 to 25 million children participate in these programs. It is estimated that 36% of those participating will have some kind of injury and 20% of those will involve injuries to the mouth, per the American Dental Association.
Because of this, the American Dental Association recommends using custom mouthguards for all contact sports during both competitions and practices. These sports include gymnastics, basketball, football, soccer, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, field hockey, rugby, skateboarding, volleyball, and wrestling. Mouthguards are considered crucial for the protection of the athlete’s teeth, tongue, and lips. They act as shock absorbers to diminish any impact to the mouth area.
Here at O'Sullivan, DeLuca & Ressel Dental Care we can take measurements and fit you or your athlete with a custom made mouthguard to fit properly. Contact us to make your appointment now.
Who Should Use a Mouthguard?
The ADA recommends all athletes, starting at age seven, wear mouthguards in both competitive and recreational sports in which contact, or collisions can happen in the course of play. Covering the upper and lower teeth, they help minimize the chance of injury to the soft tissues of the cheek, lips, and tongue. Though they take some time to get used to, they are crucial in avoiding potentially permanent damage to an athlete’s teeth and the underlying structure of the gums, tongue, and jawbone.
Reasons for Using a Mouthguard
Severe and permanent injury can occur during the course of play in both competitive and recreational sports. Collisions and falls are part of many sports. Some sports like football require repetitive contact. Others require rapid movement and change in direction during the course of play where players move in the same space and are not always aware of other participants around them. Whether it is meant as part of the game or an accident, mouthguards are the best defense against injury.
There are many types of injuries which can occur to an athlete’s teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. These include tooth fractures which can not only damage the tooth but the root as well. An avulsion can occur which is when the entire tooth, including the root, are knocked out. A partially extruded tooth injury occurs when the tooth remains in the socket but is in the wrong position. It may appear longer or shorter than the surrounding teeth.
All of these injuries require invasive and costly procedures to correct. Even after correcting them, the athlete may be required to perform more involved daily care to ensure the dental work remains intact and functional.
Types of Mouthguards
There are three types of mouthguards, all varying in price and comfort, but all providing some level of protection. There are ready made ‘stock’ mouthguards, mouth formed ‘boil and bite’ types of mouthguard and a custom-made mouthguard. According to the American Dental Association a mouthguard needs to fit securely, be durable, and not restrict an athlete’s breathing or ability to speak.
Our team of professionals at O'Sullivan, DeLuca & Ressel Dental Care can help you with your mouthguard needs. Call us at (352) 666-9898 or pay us a visit during normal office hours to schedule an appointment.