As the school year kicks into gear, so does the flurry of student-athlete activities. Whether it’s soccer, basketball, football, or any high-contact sport, the exhilaration of competition and camaraderie fuels the passion in young athletes. Amidst the excitement, it’s crucial not to overlook vital protective gear — the mouthguard.
So it’s a great time to look at the different types of mouthguards for student-athletes and kids in sports. We’ll also explore how to ensure your kids protect their teeth and what can happen if they neglect them.
Does Your Child Need a Mouthguard?
The dynamic nature of sports, especially high-contact ones, leaves student-athletes susceptible to dental injuries. A swift blow to the mouth can result in chipped teeth, fractured jaws, or even knocked-out teeth — dental catastrophes that can alter the course of a young athlete’s life.
A mouthguard acts as a cushion, absorbing the force of impact and protecting the teeth, lips, and gums from damage. And it’s not just a suggestion, the American Dental Association (ADA) endorses properly fitted mouthguards to reduce dental trauma or orofacial injury.
How To Get Them To Wear the Mouthguard
Encouraging your child to wear a mouthguard consistently might be the biggest hurdle, but it’s a crucial habit to instill early on. Explaining the potential consequences of neglecting this protective piece of equipment can be a powerful motivator.
Make the mouthguard a non-negotiable part of their sports gear. It might help to include you child in choosing a mouthguard that aligns with their comfort and style preferences.
Types of Mouthguards
There are three main types of mouthguards available:
- Stock Mouthguards: They come pre-made and are usually the least expensive option. However, they offer the least protection and can be uncomfortable, often resulting in poor compliance.
- Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards: These mouthguards soften in hot water, molded to fit the kid’s teeth. They provide a better fit than stock mouthguards and offer moderate protection.
- Custom-Fitted Mouthguards: Crafted by dental professionals, custom-fitted mouthguards offer the highest level of protection and comfort. They are tailored to the individual’s unique dental structure, ensuring a snug fit and optimal security.
Do Mouthguards Work With Braces?
Wearing a mouthguard becomes even more crucial for those with braces – which many of our young athletes have. An unexpected impact on the mouth can lead to severe damage to both the braces and the mouth. Custom-fitted mouthguards can accommodate braces, ensuring a secure fit while safeguarding against potential injuries.
The Consequences of Neglecting Mouthguards
A fast-paced game, a momentary lapse in judgment, an elbow to the face, or a collision with a hard surface can all result in a knocked-out tooth. The absence of a mouthguard increases the likelihood of such a traumatic dental injury. A tooth knocked out due to a sports-related accident might necessitate a dental implant — a surgical procedure to replace the missing tooth. This procedure requires expertise and precision, something that the professionals at Green Valley Oral Surgery are well-versed and known for.
The Role of the Dentist and Custom Mouthguards
Pediatric dentists are pivotal in ensuring young athletes’ dental health and safety. They can create custom mouthguards that are effective and comfortable. The more comfortable the mouthguard, the more likely the athlete will wear it consistently.
Pediatric dentists consider each individual’s unique dental structure, ensuring a snug and secure fit that doesn’t interfere with breathing or speech. By partnering with a kids’ dentist to create a custom mouthguard, you’re investing in your child’s dental well-being and setting them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Get Expert Dental Help Today
Safeguarding your child’s smile should be a top priority in student athletics. The simple act of wearing a mouthguard can prevent potentially life-altering dental injuries.
The dental experts at Green Valley Oral Surgery are here to help. Our skilled oral surgeons specialize in various dental implant and surgical procedures, restoring smiles and confidence. We hope not to see you for a sport-related dental injury, but if one is needed, you can trust us to provide the best care available.
Your child’s dental health deserves the best care, and that’s precisely what we offer. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.