Trauma – Sports Related Injuries and the Importance of Mouth Guards
Did you know that every year nearly 5 million Americans lose teeth in sports related injuries? Your child’s teeth are meant to last a lifetime. Taking the necessary precautions to protect them will lead to healthy, happy smiles for years to come!
Sports Related Dental Injuries
The most common injuries related to sports are knocked out teeth, fractured teeth, fractured roots, or tooth intrusion. Knocked out or fractured teeth most often happen when the player sustains a blow to the face. The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF) estimates that players without mouth guards are 60 times more likely to suffer from teeth damage during competition, with the potential for long-term dental problems.
Sometimes a blow at the wrong angle can result in a fractured tooth root. Since root fractures can’t be seen, they are usually discovered after an infection develops. Tooth intrusion happens when a trauma drives the tooth back into the jawbone. This type of injury is more common in primary teeth, with teeth suffering from intrusion potentially incurring irreparable damage.
What Are Mouth Guards?
Mouth guards are oral appliances athletes use to protect their teeth from potential damage due to a blow to the face by absorbing the force of sudden impact. They can also prevent accidental biting of the tongue or soft tissue. If your child wears braces, it is essential to use a properly fitted, protective mouth guard. A blow to your child’s face can cause significant damage to an orthodontic appliance. Custom-made mouth guards provide barriers between braces and soft tissue including the cheeks, tongue, or lips, which will protect your child from any potential injury.
We make custom-made mouth guards for your child at our dental office for excellent fit and comfort. We start by taking an impression of your child’s mouth and teeth to make a mold which we use to create the appliance. This option may be most costly than the store-bought alternatives but ensures that your child enjoys the best fit, comfort, and protection.
Caring for Mouth Guards
Rinse the mouth guard before and after each use, and regularly clean it with fresh soapy water, followed by thorough rinsing. Keep it clean and dry between games. A hard, perforated container will keep it dry and will avoid bacteria growth. Protect the mouth guard from high temperatures because the heat can distort its shape and damage it. Remind your child to keep the appliance away from pets, who may view it as a chew toy and destroy it. Caring well for the mouth guard will ensure it continues protecting your child’s teeth for as long as possible!
Make sure to check the fit and look out for signs of wear and tear, which may mean the mouth guard needs replacing. Children and teens will likely need to replace them more often than adults because their mouths are growing and changing. Bring your child’s mouth guard in during the routine checkups and cleanings for an evaluation, to ensure your child’s mouth stays well-protected.
Protect Your Young Athlete’s Teeth Today
Visit us at Smile Explorer’s Pediatric Dentistry to learn more about our custom-made mouth guards and how they can protect your child’s teeth. We serve the dental needs of infants, toddlers, kids and teens in the Deer Deer Valley, Glendale, Anthem, Norterra, Arrowhead Ranch and surrounding areas. Contact us and schedule your child’s appointment today for gentle, friendly child dental care!