Play it safe! Mouth guards can make all the difference

How many times has an accident happened and you wished you could have taken back those precious minutes before or have thought about more preventative measures you could have taken? We want to enjoy cheering our children on during team sports and experience their laughter during playground fun. However, increased activity also means greater odds of injury. Every April, as spring traditionally brings on more dental traumas, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has joined forces with the American Dental Association, the American Association of Orthodontists, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the Academy for Sports Dentistry in supporting National Facial Protection Month. This is a time when these organizations unite to emphasize the importance of wearing protective face gear for sports that could result in facial or dental injuries. Many of these various awareness promotions emphasize the use of mouth guards. According to Dr. Eric T. Geist, president of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, every year about 3 million people are treated in emergency rooms across the United States for facial trauma injuries. These include dental emergencies, such as fractured or knocked out teeth and serious injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth.

Park View’s Point of View

At Park View Pediatric Dentistry, we are all about prevention—not only for tooth decay and gum disease, but also for teeth and mouth accidents. While today’s parents religiously enforce the use of helmets for sports and cycling, we need to place equal importance on the use of mouth guards.

This simple and inexpensive device is worn over the upper teeth during sports. Its cushioning capabilities can help prevent:

—   Injuries to the lip, tongue, soft tissues of mouth

—   Chipped or broken teeth

—   Tooth loss

—    Nerve damage

There are three types of mouth guards available on the market or from your dentist.

Stock mouth guards are sold in sporting good stores. Though these are better than nothing at all, they are bulky and you cannot adjust their fit. Some children find talking and breathing more difficult with this choice.

Boil and bite mouth guards can also be bought at sporting good stores or at some dental offices. We carry these at Park View Pediatric Dentistry and have gotten very good reviews from our patients and parents. They are made of a thermoplastic material and are placed in hot water to soften. They are then shaped around the teeth and form a mold that is customized for you child’s mouth, making it easier to talk and breath. Children find this inexpensive, customizable option very comfortable and easy to use.

Custom-fitted mouth guards are made in a lab or a dental office. These are made after taking an impression of the child’s teeth. The mouth guard is then made from special a material that is molded over this impression. The extra time and materials used to make this mouth guard makes it the most expensive option. We cannot stress enough the importance of mouth guards. We want all of our patients to play it safe this spring and not experience any dental emergencies. Come see us today if your child still does not have a mouth guard and is participating in sports activities.

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