ParkRidgeDDS Tackles Super Bowl Sunday
In case you haven’t been paying attention, Sunday is the long awaited, much touted Super Bowl game. If you are a Chicago Bears fan, it is with heavy heart that you will watch the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hopefully, by Sunday we can suck it up enough to really enjoy the game. Watching football is exciting and entertaining. But (and here’s where my healthcare background takes the fun out of some things) what about the many risks that the players on the field encounter each time they face their opponent? And in particular, what about their beautiful teeth?
Among the layers of protective gear that professional football players wear, you will often see a familiar piece of plastic dangling from their helmets that they quickly stuff into their mouths before play begins. The piece of plastic that I am referring to is called a mouth guard. A very important little piece of equipment that protects the teeth from damage and injury.
It is my belief that mouth guards should be encouraged, if not mandatory, for all people, children and adults, participating in sports. Currently, there are no mandates that require kids playing in all organized sports to wear mouth guards. The evidence is compelling when it comes to wearing mouth guards vs. not wearing mouth guards while participating in sports. I know that statistics are boring so I will just share a couple to simulate conversation A study done in Switzerland of professional athletes who had sustained an orofacial injury, 84% did not wear a mouth guard. Of those who sustained orofacial injuries and were not wearing mouth guards, 59% were hockey players and 24% were soccer players. See? Compelling!! Discuss amongst yourselves.
So what are your options when choosing a mouth guard for yourself or your child? Well, there are really three commonly used options.
The first and least expensive option is also the least comfortable and least effective. This is the stock mouth guard found in most sporting equipment stores. It is a one size fits all appliance that tends to be awkward, painful and actually can harm the soft tissue in your mouth. Because of it’s unwieldy design, it tends to be purchased, worn a couple of times and then never worn again.
The second option and still relatively inexpensive is the “Boil and Bite” type of mouth guard. This appliance is a little more comfortable because, you mold it to your own teeth by softening the plastic in boiling water, inserting it into your mouth and, by following the directions, you achieve a mouth guard that fits to your teeth. The risk of irritation to the soft tissue still exists as you are doing this yourself without the help of an expert.
The third option is the most effective, safest and certainly the most comfortable. This is the mouth guard that you have your dentist make. She/he takes an impression of your upper teeth and that impression is sent to a laboratory that specializes in making mouth guards. The result is a lightweight well fitting and comfortable appliance that you would be more apt to wear on a consistent basis…because, after all, the mouth guard is doing you no good at all if it is sitting in it’s container while you are on the ice scoring a power play goal.
So, while we hunker down on Sunday with our chips and beverages cheering on the team that isn’t the Bears, keep an eye out for those mouth guards and really consider getting one for yourself or your child if you participate in active or contact sports.
If you want more information, please contact our office at 847.692.6800 and Vivien will be happy to help you!!