SOUTH WEYMOUTH, MA…
The calendar may still say winter, but spring sports are well underway at local towns and schools. Unfortunately, with those spring activities comes the potential for concussions, particularly if young athletes use the wrong type of mouthguard.
“Boil-and-bite mouthguards that many young athletes use offer a false sense of security because these pieces do not always maintain their initial shape. Or the athlete alters the shape to make it more comfortable and to appear like they still have protection,” said South Weymouth Dentist Dr. Richard Wolfert, owner of The Toothboss. “With the shape of the mouthguard altered, the mouthguard may not hold the jaws in place after a blow to the head. And that increases the likelihood of concussion.”
In 2014, the Academy of General Dentistry conducted a study that followed 412 players from six high school football teams. Three teams (220 athletes) were randomly assigned to wear custom-made mouthguards, and three teams (192 athletes) wore standard over-the-counter mouthguards of their own choosing. All players wore the same style of football helmet.
According to the study, 8.3 percent of athletes in the OTC mouthguard group suffered mild traumatic brain injuries/concussion injuries. For those with custom-made mouthguards, however, the rate was only 3.6 percent.
“The study proves a few things. First is that a custom-made mouthguard will not completely prevent a concussion, but it can definitely reduce the impact better than over-the-counter mouthguards,” said Dr. Wolfert. “Unfortunately, many parents go with the over-the-counter option because it’s easier and meets requirements of their child’s respective league. When you consider the short-term implications of a concussion—medical visits, missed school time, etc.—and the potential long-term effects of that injury, an annual cost of a customized mouthguard pales by comparison.”
A customized mouthguard, created from a mold taken by a dentist, typically costs in the neighborhood of $100. Low-end OTC mouthguards range from $7.99 to higher end of $49.99. None of those are fitted.
“Typically, we can have a mold made in one visit and have a mouthguard ready within a one week period,” said Wolfert. “You should probably have a new mouthguard made at the beginning of each school year to adjust to your child’s growth.”
For more information on mouthguards and other services offered by The Toothboss, visit Dr. Wolfert’s website at www.toothboss.com or call 781-335-0604 to schedule a consultation.
About The Toothboss
The Toothboss offers: comprehensive examinations (written treatment and treatment plan provided); cosmetics; crowns, bridges and tooth-colored restorations; partial and full dentures; periodontics (early cases treated); oral surgery; restoration of conventional and small diameter implants; and emergency services (24-hour emergency phone number available).
The Toothboss accepts most insurance plans. They also accept payment from most PPO and indemnity plans, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Delta Dental. They also accept all major credit cards and have arranged payment plans through LendingClub.
To schedule an initial consultation, please call 781-335-0604. For more information, visit www.toothboss.com.