Why Wear Mouth Guards? An Ounce of Prevention

Why Wear Mouth Guards? An Ounce of Prevention
Posted on 07/20/2015


Summer is in full swing and fall sports are around the corner. We all want our kids to be safe and, as an orthodontist, I see too many children with damaged front teeth from falls taken during competitive sports.  Just yesterday, I met an 8 year old who knocked out his front tooth during a fall last summer.  The tooth fractured mid-root and even though it was reinserted by a dentist, the tooth is failing and will need to be removed. I tried to reassure the parents that during orthodontic treatment we can attach a fake tooth to his braces to fill the space, but I saw how upset they were that he would have to wait until he finished growing at 18 to 20 years old to get a permanent restoration.  

When I was 9 years old, I fractured my front tooth and needed to get root canal treatment and a crown. I replaced the crown several times but was lucky that the tooth survived until about 5 years ago when it needed to be removed.  I needed a bone graft which took six months to heal, followed by surgical placement of an implant which took another six months to become solid enough to place the crown. The end result feels like my original tooth (almost), but it is not something I would wish for children or any of my patients to go through if it can be avoided.

Mouth GuardsOur orthodontic literature is full of similar stories. Last year, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation forecasted that more than 3 million teeth would be knocked out in youth sporting events.  Without a good mouth guard, they estimated, athletes would be 60 times more likely to damage their teeth.  Yet, another important survey surprisingly revealed that 67 percent of parents interviewed said that their children do not wear mouth guards during organized sports.

Are Custom Mouth Guards Better?

At JT Ortho, we believe that custom-fitted mouth guards play a vital role in preventing damage to the teeth and gums. While you’ll be able to find standard, boil-and-fit mouth guards at your local sporting goods store, they are more bulky and less effective than one that is custom-fitted to your young athlete’s mouth. Actually, kids find it easier to talk with a more comfortable custom mouth guard and because they can be made to “look cool” with colors and logos they are much more likely to wear them.  Compliance is the key!  

What Can We Do To Help?

As a way of “giving back” to our community, every Spring and Fall, we present a program just in time for the sports and outdoor seasons that will supply CUSTOM FIT mouth guards to our local athletes at little or no cost. This summer, we are offering mouth guards for FREE during the months of July and August.  To make them “Custom” we need an impression of your child’s teeth which can be done at either of our offices in just a few minutes. For any questions and to schedule an appointment for an impression, please contact our Chicago office at 773-545-5333 or our Vernon Hills office at 847-816-0633.