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Attention Parents: Make Sure Your Athletes Wear Their Mouth Guards!

While it’s wonderful to encourage children to be active and get involved with sports, it’s very important to make sure that they are protected. Helmets and pads protect your child, but don’t forget about the mouth! A mouth guard should be worn during any sport that involves contact, the potential of collisions or falling, fast  movement, or throwing, catching, or batting balls.

Here at Bergen Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we recommend that children wear mouth guards, both for practice and during games, for baseball (while batting), basketball, field hockey, football, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, roller hockey, rugby, skateboarding, soccer, softball (while batting), volleyball, water polo, and wrestling.

Types of Mouth Guards

A mouth guard is intended to protect your child’s teeth from trauma or chipping—it’s basically a plastic appliance that keeps the teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums safe. The American Dental Association says that studies of mouth guards show that they offer significant protection against sports-related injuries to the teeth and soft tissues. There are several options when it comes to mouth guards:

Ready-made mouth guards – Ranging in cost from $5 to $15 and in size from small to large, these mouth guards are inexpensive, but don’t always fit well or allow the child to close his or her mouth all the way.

Boil-and-bite mouth guards – These types of mouth guards cost between $20 and $55 in most sports retail stores and fit the bite better than the stock options.

Custom-molded moth guard – The most expensive option (but also the best option), these mouth guards are made by your dentist by taking dental impressions for the upper and lower jaw, creating a plaster mold, and creating an appliance that fits your child’s mouth. These types of mouth guards are much more secure and comfortable than other types.

So, this summer and all year long, make sure your  young athlete prevents major injuries to the mouth by wearing that mouth guard!

If an injury does occur, what should you do? Here are a few tips:

If a tooth is displaced, it’s possible that it has been twisted in the socket or that the bone around the tooth has been fractured. Call Bergen Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery right away and we can take a look.

If a tooth is chipped or fractured, the solution (i.e. crown, filling, dental implant, etc.) really depends on how large the chip or how deep the fracture. Arrange an evaluation with your dentist as soon as possible, when he or she will take x-rays and determine the best course of action.

If a tooth is knocked out completely, find the tooth, rinse if dirty (trying not to touch the root), and place the tooth back into the socket immediately. Yes, this sounds unsanitary, but the sooner you do this, the greater likelihood that the tooth will survive. Have your child hold the tooth in place and call the dentist immediately—most have an after-hours emergency number when issues like this arise.

Prevention is the key when it comes to mouth injuries. So be sure to have your child wear that mouth guard any time he or she is practicing or playing.

If your child has lost or fractured a tooth and you’re concerned that he or she might need a dental implant, we’d be happy to talk about your options. Contact one of our three locations: Hackensack: 201.343.8297, Westwood: 201.664.5656, or Ridgewood: 201.444.4137.