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Posts Tagged ‘sports dentistry’

Boil & Bite vs. Custom Fit – How to Determine the Best Mouthguard

In Dental Care, Kids on September 13, 2011 at 4:30 AM

According to, The National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries, Inc. reports several interesting statistics involving the use of mouthguards, and our kids.

For the sake of this blog post, we’ll concentrate on identifying two of the most relevant.

1. Dental injuries are the most common type or orofacial injury sustained during participation in sports.

2. Victims of total tooth avulsions who do not have teeth properly preserved or replanted may face lifetime dental costs of $10,000 – $15,000 per tooth, hours in the dentist’s chair, and the possible development of other dental problems such as periodontal disease.

It is estimated over three million teeth will get knocked out this year during youth sporting events. (Source: National Youth Sports Safety Foundation)

Common sense says mouthguards and helmets with face protection will certainly limit mouth injuries, but how can we be sure of the best mouthguard choice for our kids?

A properly fitted mouthguard must be protective, comfortable, resilient, tear resistant, odorless, tasteless, not bulky, cause minimal interference to speaking and breathing, and (possibly the most important criteria) have excellent retention, fit, and sufficient thickness in critical areas. (Source:

Basically we have two choices when it comes to mouthguards for our kids, the boil and bite job we can purchase from the local sporting goods store, or a custom mouthpiece specifically designed for their teeth and fitted by our trusted family dentist.

Boil & Bite

These are the mouthguards available for purchase at the local sporting goods store, essentially requiring a pot of boiling water to bring the mouthpiece into a ‘formable’ state.

We then need to have our kids bite down on the soft mouthpiece to form it around their bite. Hold for a minute, and dip it back in cold water to complete the toothy somewhat protective template. says, presently over 90% of the mouthguards worn are of the variety bought at sporting good stores.

The other 10% are of the custom-made variety diagnosed and designed by a health professional (dentist and/or athletic trainer).

Custom Fit

A custom fit mouthguard is specifically designed by a dental professional with the individual child’s anatomy, dental history, chosen sport, and other important dental health variables taken into account.

An easy way to look at it is, the boil and bite is one size fits all – sort of, most manufacturers do offer small, medium, and large.

The custom mouthguard is just that; custom designed specifically for the individual by a dental health professional.

Which is better?

Take a wild guess…then ask your dentist.

Which costs more?

Go figure.

But remember this when calculating short-term savings against long-term prevention, emergency dentistry will cost more than any mouthguard.

$5 for the standard boil & bite mouthguard.

$10,000 for estimated lifetime dental costs per injured tooth.

Forking over $500 for a custom fit job….PRICELESS!

Go Custom!

A properly fitted mouthguard will certainly limit the severity of, and help protect against further injury to the mouth, teeth, and face.

Only your dentist can determine the perfect fit and provide the answers necessary to best protect your child’s teeth, gums, and jaw, when they’re out playing sports this season.

To continue beating the dental equity equine – talk to your dentist before your child takes the field.

And do your best to ensure your child understands their mouthguard must actually be in their mouths at all times.

If it’s uncomfortable they won’t use it. And if they don’t use it, they risk injury.

Need another reason to opt for the more protective custom fit mouthguard this season?

How to Limit Dental Injuries in Sports

In Kids on August 25, 2011 at 4:30 AM

Participation in youth sports teaches our kids such important life lessons that we as adults often forget, or maybe fail to practice as much as we should.

Seemingly simple ideas like working together toward a common goal, learning sportsmanship, and most of all – having fun, often get lost in the experience of youth sports when adults start messing up the situation.

Of course we all learn from our parents, but it seems in the past few decades the parents are the ones that need some extra help and discipline when it comes to kids in sports.

We won’t waste our time here highlighting shameful examples of little league moms and dads doing their best to simultaneously embarrass their families, sports organizations, and local community by acting like poorly behaved children.

What we’ll concentrate on with this dental dissertation will be the ubiquitous mouthguard…and how parents should make sure their kids are wearing one. The sports dentistry and mouthguard subject has been previously discussed, or at least marginally broached, in this dental forum.

No matter if it’s a $400 custom fit job from the dentist, or the boil & bite deal from the local sporting goods store, a properly fitted mouthguard will certainly limit severity and help protect against further injury to the mouth, teeth, and face.

How do you know if the mouthpiece is properly fitted?

Ask your dentist!

If it’s not in their mouth, it is of no use

Don’t just take our word for it; listen to the professionals at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Check out the article entitled, Sports dental injuries are no laughing matter, by clicking the link.

“Basketball and baseball are the two biggest mouth-injuring sports,” says Stephen Mitchell, D.M.D., associate professor in the UAB Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

“And the most common injuries we see are broken, displaced or knocked out teeth, and broken jaws.”

The UAB article’s author, Jennifer Lollar, goes on to mention some pretty staggering facts concerning kids and sports.

According to a report by the U.S. Surgeon General, craniofacial injuries sustained during sporting activities are a major source of nonfatal injury and disability in children and adults, accounting for up to one-third of all sports injuries.

The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation estimates that more than 3 million teeth will be knocked out in youth sporting activities this year.

This info also relates to parents pocketbooks.

A properly fitted mouthguard can significantly reduce initial injury and lessen the severity of craniofacial injury – do we need to reference that?

Only your dentist can determine the perfect fit and provide the answers necessary to best protect your child’s teeth, gums, and jaw, when they’re out playing sports this season.

So it’s simple – talk to your dentist before your child takes the field.

Ensure your child is wearing their mouthguard at all times. It should be second nature; it should not be uncomfortable or difficult to speak.

Remain diligent…like “Do your homework”  and “take out the garbage” diligent, and you won’t have the pleasure of forking over thousands of dollars for oral surgery on knocked out teeth, wiring and milkshakes with broken jaws, or CAT scans and MRIs caused by concussions.

The overwhelming theme…talk to your dentist about a properly fitted mouthguard before your kids take to the field or court this back to school season.

Talk to Your Dentist About Choosing the Proper Mouthguard

In Dental Care, Kids on July 28, 2011 at 4:30 AM

We’re sure there is plenty of common ground to examine between dentistry and the end of the recent NFL labor lockout. Maybe with the price of gold continuing to climb, some players will be leaving the gold teeth in the locker room. Or more likely, we don’t have any idea what we’re hoping to communicate but it’s got something to do with dentistry and sports.

So where are we going with all of this dentistry and sports stretch at a conversation?

Straight to the teeth.

It is estimated by the American Dental Association that mouthguards prevent approximately 200,000 injuries each year in high school and collegiate football alone.

Sure, you may think this would warrant some mention or reach at a correlation involving dentistry and ice hockey, but we’ll leave that one for a more in-depth and timely investigation. Tune in later this year as we showcase the top dentists in sport!

For this mid-summer doldrums social dentistry blog post, we’ll stick to pure vanilla.

What’s the Most Important Piece of Safety Equipment?

We don’t know, nor are we pretending to communicate a final answer. But, what we do know is that mouthguards or mouthpieces are definitely among the most widely used and most important personal safety factors players use regardless of their particular sport.

Football players wear them, basketball players, softball players, soccer players, rugby players, even some ice hockey players have been known to wear a mouthguard from time to time.

So what’s the conclusion?

We’ve previously illustrated how dentistry and baseball have come together to help eliminate chewing tobacco at the ballpark, or just passed along certain surname similarities between a couple of dentists…and a couple of big league pitchers.

Oh, the conclusion about the mouthguards…

One conclusion we can make here is this; unless the mouthguard is in the mouth, it is of no use to anybody whatsoever. Parents, make sure your kids wear mouthguards this increasingly earlier back to school sports season.

Aside from safety, and staying out of emergency dental chair, some mouthguards have even claimed to increase athletic performance by improving the alignment of the jaw, allowing more oxygen to enter the airway during periods of physical exertion. It’s a whole neuromuscular thing that your dentist could surely explain way better than us.

The jury is still out on such claims; some say definitely, others not so much. Click the link for more info on sports dentistry and mouthguards.

If you have questions about what mouthguard is best for you or your children just ask your dentist – we dare you to post such a question to their Facebook wall!

Our trusted neighborhood dentists know a thing or two about properly fitting the mouthpiece according to individual dental factors. Before you or your child suit up this season, be sure to check your mouthguard’s fit with your dentist!