Now that your child is participating in sports, you’re both excited and stressed all at the same time. It’s great that they have an opportunity to meet other kids, stay in shape, and get out of the house from time to time, but like any parent, you’re always concerned about their safety. So, before they ever hit the field, mat, or court, you always make sure that they have all of their safety gear. In addition to helmets, shin guards, and face-masks, children should also be wearing a sports guard to keep their teeth protected from unexpected impacts. As a parent, you basically have two options: do you get a sports guard from the store or invest in one custom-made by a dentist? Does it really make a difference?” In fact, having a custom-made sports guard can make a HUGE difference for your child, and today, a dentist is here to tell you how.
Better Comfort, Better Play, Better Protection
Most generic sports guards that you’ll find on store shelves are made to be one-size-fits-all, which means for many children using them, they are extremely uncomfortable. They’re too big, too small, or create sore spots in the mouth. The end result? A child tends to “forget” them in their bag or just take their guard off during practice, and that’s usually when accidents happen.
On the other hand, a custom-made sports guard designed by a dentist is specially designed to fit over a child’s unique dental structure, helping it almost feel like a natural part of the mouth. As a result, a child is not only more comfortable, but they are much more likely to actually wear their guard as well, keeping their teeth safer in the process.
Easier to Breathe and Speak
With one-size-fits-all sports guards, the mouth usually needs to be closed in order for it to stay in place. As a result, children usually have a hard time breathing or speaking normally while playing, which can be extremely frustrating for both them and their teammates. Some can even become lightheaded because they’re not able to breathe as they exert themselves!
When properly fitted, a sports guard from a dentist is actually able to stay in place even if the mouth is completely open, keeping the airway nice and unobstructed. This basically allows a child to forget about their sports guard and just play. And, once they start to get tired, they won’t have an obstacle in the way.
Protection From Concussions
According to a study published in General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, “High school football players wearing store-bought, over-the-counter mouthguards were more than twice as likely to suffer mild traumatic brain injuries/concussions than those wearing custom-made, properly fitted mouthguards. Researchers suggest that when it comes to buying a mouthguard, parents who want to reduce their child’s risk of a sports-related concussion should visit a dentist instead of a sporting goods store.”
Researchers added, “Over-the-counter mouthguards are not fitted to the athlete’s mouth, making them less comfortable than custom guards made by a dentist. When a mouthguard is not comfortable, the athlete is likely to chew it, reducing its thickness and resulting in less protection.”
So, if it’s time for your little athlete to get a sports guard, don’t go to the store, just give a dentist a call. That way, both you and your child can breathe easier the next time they go out to play.
About the Author
Dr. Masha Kogan is a family, restorative, and cosmetic dentist based in Westport, CT. Over the course of her 20 year career, she has made a countless number of custom sports guards for her patients, ensuring the comfort and safety of their smiles every time they hit the field, mat, or court. If you have any questions or are interested in getting a custom sports guard for your child, she can be contacted through her website.