As avid athletes growing up, Drs. Al and Greg Josephsen understand firsthand the ease in which damage to the teeth, tongue, and jawbones can occur during sports. While mouthguards must be worn in certain sports like football and lacrosse, many other youth sports have not yet mandated that they be worn.
Many young athletes opt not to wear a mouthguard and as a result, injuries to the mouth and jaws are very common. While mouthguards can feel bulky and take some time to get used to, if they are worn consistently, they often become as integral to an athletes’ uniform as the shoes/cleats on their feet. For a mouthguard to be effective, it should be comfortable, strong, durable, and not restrict breathing or speech.
Mouthguards protect the teeth from getting chipped, fractured, or completely lost during sports. They also protect the tongue from injury. What many people forget however, is that mouthguards protect the jaw! The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the hinge that allows your jaw to open and close, move side to side, and from front to back. It is located near your ear canal and damage to the bones, muscles, or tendons that connect the TMJ to your skull can cause some serious problems (toothaches, headaches, neck pain, dizziness, ringing in your ears, and clicking sounds and pain during jaw movement, just to name a few)!
According to the American Dental Association:
Mouthguards provide a resilient, protective surface to distribute and dissipate forces on impact, thereby minimizing the severity of traumatic injury to the hard or soft tissues. According to a 2007 meta-analysis of studies evaluating the effectiveness of mouthguards in reducing injuries, the overall injury risk was found to be 1.6-1.9 times greater when a mouthguard was not worn, relative to when mouthguards were used during athletic activity.1
Making a mouthguard is a very quick and easy process. We can make them in various densities, thicknesses, and colors. Stop by our West Caldwell dentist office to have this important piece of sports gear made custom for you!
1. Mouthguards. (2008, August 1). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from http://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-to...