In the world of sports and physical activities, safety is of utmost importance, especially for children. One essential protective measure for children engaged in sports, especially over the summer months when children are more likely to be outside, is the use of mouth guards. These custom-fitted devices, provided by dentists, offer numerous benefits and play a crucial role in safeguarding children’s oral health. There are many advantages of mouth guards:
- Dental Protection: Mouth guards serve as a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, shielding them from potential impact and reducing the risk of dental injuries. Accidents during sports activities can cause broken teeth, tooth loss, and damage to the lips, tongue, or jaw. Wearing a mouth guard helps absorb and dissipate the force of such impacts, minimizing the chance of dental trauma.
- Prevention of Soft Tissue Injuries: Aside from shielding the teeth, mouth guards also provide protection against soft tissue injuries. They cushion the lips, cheeks, and tongue, preventing lacerations, bruising, and damage to the delicate oral tissues. This added layer of defence reduces the likelihood of injuries caused by accidental collisions or falls.
- Alleviation of Jaw Injuries: Children who actively participate in sports are susceptible to jaw injuries, which can result in fractures or dislocations. A mouth guard provides support to the jaw joint, dispersing the impact forces and reducing the risk of such injuries. By stabilizing the jaw, mouth guards contribute to the overall safety and well-being of children during physical activities.
- Prevention of Concussions: Concussions, a form of traumatic brain injury, are a serious concern in contact sports. Although mouth guards primarily protect the mouth and teeth, they also offer some degree of protection against concussions. The cushioning effect of mouth guards helps absorb shock and minimize the transmission of impact forces to the head, potentially reducing the risk and severity of concussions.
The first step in obtaining a mouth guard for a child is to schedule an appointment with a dentist. During the visit, the dentist will assess the child’s oral health, discuss their sports activities, and evaluate the need for a mouth guard.
If a mouth guard is deemed necessary, the dentist will proceed to take an impression of the child’s teeth. This process involves placing a soft, pliable material in a tray, which the child bites into, allowing for an accurate mold of the upper and lower teeth. The impression is then used as a blueprint for creating a custom-fitted mouth guard.
The dental impression is sent to a dental laboratory, where a skilled technician fabricates the mouth guard. Using durable and flexible materials, such as thermoplastic or laminated acrylic, the technician carefully crafts a mouth guard that perfectly fits the child’s teeth and mouth structure.
Once the mouth guard is ready, the child returns to the practice for a fitting appointment. The dentist ensures that the mouth guard fits comfortably and securely, making any necessary adjustments to optimize its fit and functionality.