Best Practices – Sports Mouthguards


Monday, Ferbruary 16, 2015

If you even casually watch NCAA football, NFL football, or high school football, you have probably noticed a significant change in the discussion of concussions. A professionally designed and fabricated sports mouthguard can make a significant difference in the risk of injury. “Because a professionally-made guard is the most comfortable and provides the best protection against injuries, and they are more durable than many over-the-counter varieties,” they offer the best chance we have at preventing traumatic injuries (AGD Impact, August 2014). The AGD Impact article, “Sporting Mouthguards” relies heavily on positions espoused by the Academy for Sports Dentistry.

Custom-made pressure-laminated sports mouthguards were shown in a study published by the dental research journal General Dentistry to reduce the incidence of MTBI mild traumatic brain injury/ concussion injury by 50%, when compared to OTC (over-the-counter) mouthguards. Wow! So, why isn’t every high school football player wearing a custom mouthguard?

I offered a local high school the opportunity to donate custom-made pressure-laminated guards to their team. We offered to come out for a practice; make impressions for all the players. They could then come in to the office and receive their donated guard from the dental office. The only charge would be a replacement fee in the case that they lost or destroyed their guard. FIRST GUARD FREE.

For fear that some of the players would lose their guard and not be able to afford a replacement, the coach decided against it. The players and teams in AISD are actually penalized if the players are found by referees not wearing their guards. It seemed so obvious to me. Last year, I upgraded my practice by buying a positive pressure dental device fabricating machine, the Mini Star, made by the Great Lakes Ortho company. Here is an example of the thought that goes into this type of professionally-made device.

It is reasonable to surmise from the available research that sports mouthguards reduce the risk of concussions, which would logically imply correlation to a reduced long-term risk of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) – the dreaded disease of old boxers and once-great football players.

It is indisputable that they reduce the incidence of fractured and injured teeth. Dentist made pressure fabricated sports mouthguards are a great investment in your mouth health, and brain health.

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