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Avoiding Sports Injuries

April 27th, 2011

Avoiding Sports Injuries
In this day and age of increased physical fitness awareness and participatory sports popularity, facial trauma due to sports injuries is causing more and more people to seek “emergency care” from their dentists.  Many patients require treatment to repair fractured teeth or to replace teeth which have been knocked out.Fortunately, an easy way to prevent such problems is to be fitted by your dentist with a properly formed athletic mouthguard.  Much research and experience has shown that a custom made mouthguard provides better fit, retention, comfort, and ease of speech than a “stock” store bought guard, while providing maximal protection and durability.  Many schools, sports leagues, and advisory councils mandate that all partcipants in contact sports (football, wrestling, rugby, hockey, etc.) where an athletic mouthguard during competition.  We also strongly suggest that mouthguards be worn for non-required sports (basketball, lacrosse, soccer, etc.), where a flying elbow or knee can also easily damage a tooth
A broken tooth is a very blatant example of  a sports related oral injury, but a blow to an unprotected tooth can cause damage other than obvious fracture.  Several days, weeks, months, or even years after the injury actually happened, the nerve in the tooth can devitalize, causing abcess formation and the need for root canal therapy.  So, be smart, and ask your dentist to make you a custom fitted athletic mouthguard.  The small price to pay now is more than worthwhile to avoid the need for expensive reparative treatment later on.
A custom mouthguard is made on an impression of your teeth with a special vacuum forming machine.  This makes the fit very precise and leads to increased protection for the teeth.  The smaller the gap between the mouthguard material and the tooth, the better the force of a blow is absorbed by the soft mouthguard and not transferred to the hard tooth surface.
For any mouthguard to work, it needs to be worn.  Many injuries happen during practices and practice games when full equipment is not worn.  Even the pickup games in the back yard warrant proper protection to prevent injury.  Here’s a suggestion, get your mouthguard in a color to make it more fun, or intimidating (think all black).

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