At Harder Dental, we care a lot about your child’s oral health. We gently guide kids through the loss of their original teeth, straighten them as needed, and help prevent cavities. But sometimes overlooked are the level of risk posed when they go beyond child’s play into sports.
According to the American Dental Association, there are 15 million dental injuries a year from sports, resulting in the loss of five million teeth. Millions more are chipped or cracked. The nerves of the teeth, the tongue, lips, and other soft tissues of the mouth can be harmed. A blow from an elbow or equipment could cause a concussion. Dental work, such as braces or bridges, can be damaged. The cost of going to an available dentist to do emergency repairs and provide basic medical care is likely to be high. Yet a study reported that although a majority of children participated in organized sports, 84% of them do not regularly wear mouthguards.
A customized dental mouthguard is a simple, inexpensive, and the best way to keep your child safe. Over-the-counter versions are cheaper, but they do not provide nearly the level of protection and comfort that Harder Dental can provide. We use only the highest quality material and design each with the help of a dental lab to fit the contours of your child’s mouth. Our special mouthguards also make it easy to breathe and speak (the same cannot be said about other types).
Be sure your child, friends, teachers, and coaches know this needs to be worn during any recreational physical activity, not just contact sports. This also applies outside school, of course, since serious injuries can occur just from playing basketball in the driveway or football in the street. Gymnastics, skateboarding, and mountain biking can be hazardous. Insisting on a mouthguard is not being over-protective, it is just the smart and realistic way to minimize the impact not only on your own child, but the responsibility of others if an accident happens.
Discuss with us what to do about dental work and oral appliances. Mouthguards are generally created to protect just the upper teeth. But if he or she has braces or other fixed dental work on the bottom, we will recommend how to protect them. Before playing sports, all dental appliances such as orthodontic retainers should be removed (Invisalign aligners for the upper teeth are usually the exception, since a mouthguard should protect them).
You and your dentist, working with others, will keep your child safe.