One of the best ways for “weekend warriors” who participate in sports to avoid needing cosmetic dentistry is to wear a mouthguard. Participants in nearly every organised sport, whether youth or adult, should include a mouthguard among their protective equipment.
Sports are competitive and people who compete in them always seem to think “injuries are what happens to someone else.” Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, you are just as likely to be that “someone else” as someone else is.
Athletes don’t think twice about using protective equipment such as helmets or pads but seem to think a mouthguard is unnecessary. The Australian Dental Association recommends using a mouthguard in every sport that involves contact or possible contact with the ground, but a large number of Australians are resistant and ignore both science and statistics when it comes to protecting their teeth.
There are three main reasons people choose not to wear a mouthguard: cost, headaches and the “macho factor.” This is foolish because mouthguards not only protect the teeth from injury, they can also prevent jaw fractures, neck injuries and even concussions.
According to estimates, as many as 200,000 sports injuries a year are prevented by mouthguards. Injuries to the teeth, mouth, jaw and face, known as orofacial injuries, would seem to be more common in contact sports like footy and rugby, but they are much more common in soccer and basketball.People who play sports casually and informally are even more likely to sustain injuries as those who are playing organised sports because they almost never wear mouthguards. Kids who participate in informal “extreme” sports on their bicycles and skateboards are also at high risk of orofacial injuries.
Informal games come with more risks because there are no officials to enforce game rules. You are also much more likely to get into a fistfight in an informal game for the same reason.
Even with officials, though, accidents can happen. They can also happen in martial arts classes, despite the best efforts of the teacher to ensure safety.
How to Be Safe
The best way to be safe is to come into our office and have us fit you with a custom mouthguard. There are basically three kinds of mouthguards available: stock mouthguards, mouth-formed guards from sporting goods stores and custom-fitted guards from the dentist.
Stock mouthguards offer the least protection. They are better than no mouthguard at all, but just barely. The “boil and bite” mouthguards from sporting goods stores offer more protection, but they don’t give maximum protection because they still aren’t a perfect fit. Also, they don’t last as long. And really, if you are going to go to the trouble of wearing a mouthguard in the first place, why not go with the one that gives you the best chance of not being hurt?
The best way to prevent orofacial injuries is to have a dentist provide you with a custom fitted mouthguard. We take a cast of your teeth and use it to make the mouthguard. It is the most expensive option, but a custom mouthguard can protect you from injuries that can end up costing thousands of dollars in dental or surgical treatment.
Stay Away from the Emergency Dentist
The Australian Dental Association and Sports Medicine Australia have teamed up to produce a mouthguard policy that is recommended for all sport clubs. They recommend custom fitted mouthguards only and do not recommend boil and bite or stock mouthguards.
Their policy recommends that mouthguards should be mandatory and that they should be required to be worn during all practices and games. A strict policy of “no mouthguard, no play” is recommended. Managers and coaches are advised to check all players throughout practices and games and eject them if they are non-compliant.
Avoid Needing Emergency or Cosmetic Dentistry
We agree with the mouthguard policy 100%. Ultimately the policy is there to make sports as safe as possible for all participants. We recommend that all people who participate in sports, from youth to adult, organised or informal, get themselves fitted for a mouthguard today.
To learn more, call Joondalup City Dental today: (08) 9404 9500