Mouth Guards can prevent up to 95% of sports related facial and head injuries.
Soft tissue injuries vary from mild lip cuts to jaw fractures and concussion, all of which are preventable by wearing the appropriate mouth guard.
Dental injuries may vary from small chips to complete avulsion (loss) of teeth. These injuries usually have long term implications with teeth needing more and more extensive repairs every few years.
A chipped front tooth may die and need root canal treatment after a few years, as well as a crown. Avulsed teeth may need treatment involving the wearing of a denture until at least age 19, after which implant(s) may be placed, with possible bone and tissue augmentation.
In its simplest terms, a concussion is a bruised brain. The bruise occurs when a moving head suddenly stops moving. The brain is cushioned inside the brain by the cerebrospinal fluid. When the head stops moving, the brain continues to move and hits the inside of the skull. If the impact is hard enough, the brain is bruised and a concussion occurs.
A mouth guard drastically reduces the amount of force reaching the brain thus helping to prevent brain injury and jaw fracture as well as Tempero Mandibular Joint damage.
In post-concussion syndrome, symptoms do not resolve for weeks, months, or years after a concussion, and may occasionally be permanent. Symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, anxiety, memory and attention problems, sleep problems, and irritability. These may lead to psychiatric problems.
Managing oral-facial injuries and concussion:
Always keep any teeth or parts of teeth that have been knocked out. Do NOT rinse or clean them. Place in milk or the player's saliva and get to the dentist ASAP. Every minute counts.
- If there is bleeding, check where it is coming from. If the wound is longer than 1cm or is gaping, the dentist may need to stitch it up, after cleaning the wound of debris and ensuring no piece of chipped tooth is stuck in the wound.
- Check the mouth for loose teeth. If the player cannot move their jaw or there is undue swelling, the jaw may be fractured. Contact your dentist or local trauma centre to have X-rays taken ASAP.
- Always check for concussion. If you're not sure, treat as if the player has concussion.
Post concussive symptoms can be physical, cognitive and emotional.
Physical symptoms include loss of consciousness, mild-severe headache, dizziness, nausea, feeling unsteady, feeling "dinged" or "stunned" or "dazed", feeling like their "bell was rung", seeing stars or other visual disturbances, ringing in the ears, double vision, simply "not feeling right." Cognitive symptoms include confusion, amnesia, disorientation, poor concentration, and memory disturbance. Emotional symptoms include feeling of depression or moodiness. Further signs of concussion over the longer term may include: poor coordination or balance, poor concentration, slow to answer questions and following directions, vomiting, looking "glassy eyed", photophobia, slurred speech, personality or behaviour changes and significantly decreased performance or playing ability.
It is important to note that not all concussions will include all of these signs/symptoms. If any ONE of the aforementioned symptoms (or other similar symptoms) are present, concussion should be suspected. Keep in mind that signs & symptoms may be more pronounced later or the next day after the injury. Again, it is critical to remember that a person does not have to lose consciousness to have sustained a concussion.
Types of Mouth Guards
The science behind Mouth Guards demand a Large Surface area, an Elastic Material and a tight fit. Loose, rigid and thin Mouth Guards do NOT provide the same protection as tight fitting flexible Mouth Guards of the correct thickness.
Type 1 - Available from stores. Poor fitting/retention and difficult to breath. Gives a false sense of protection. Better than nothing.
Type 2 - "Boil and Bite". Affects Speech and breathing. Also poor retention. Uneven thickness.
Type 3 - Custom made at dentist/dental lab. Good retention. Easy to breath and minimal effects on speech. Ideal for youngsters that need between 3 and 4 millimetres of thickness.
Type 4 - Pressure laminated. Ideal fit, shape and thickness. This is the correct Mouth Guard for any serious sportsman or woman older than 12. No impact on speech, breathing or drinking. Max Mouth Guards are the most readily used Type 4 mouthguard in South Africa, including professional sportsmen & women. Available from Nu-Smile Dental.
The cost of a Mouth Guard is only a fraction of the costs compared to root canal treatments, crowns and even small fillings for fractured front teeth. Reconstructing a smile usually runs into ten of thousands of rands. Costs for a state of the art type 4 mouth guard starts from R900, dependant on the amount of colours you choose for your mouth guard.
Please make an appointment so that we can provide you with the correct information according to your individual needs.