Dr. Harvey Lester has been the Team Dentist of the NFL Arizona Cardinals for the past sixteen seasons. He knows that football players get beat up. When a player gets a solid hit to the head, or experiences a jolt that produces a whiplash effect, the player may well end up with a concussion. However a properly fitting mouth guard will help to prevent this. By creating a stable relationship between the jaw and the skull at the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) the appliance helps dissipate the force. This ‘shock absorber’ will help prevent neurological damage when the jaw slams into the skull.
Concussions have been an ever increasing concern in sports. Long range they have been linked to memory impairment, emotional instability, and erratic behavior. Therefore, in many sports, properly fitting mouth guards are considered essential. Mouthguards should be worn while playing and training for any sport that could involve contact to the face.The American Dental Association recommends wearing a custom mouthguard for the following sports in addition to football : acrobatics, basketball, field hockey, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, and wrestling.
The American Dental Association estimates that mouth guards prevent approximately 200,000 injuries each year in high school and collegiate football. In fact the younger athletes are more susceptible to concussions than NFL players. This is due to the fact that a young person is still developing, and while experiencing a final growth spurt, the head, teeth, and neck are not yet perfectly aligned. Repeated concussions appear to impart cumulative damage resulting in increased severity and duration with each incident. The chance of having a second concussion is four times greater than the chance of sustaining a first concussion.
Therefore, it is imperative to diagnose and deliver proper custom made mouthguards to athletes when they begin a sport. These should be worn at all times during competition and practice. The stock mouthguard which can be bought at sports stores, without individual fitting, provide only a low level of protection, if any. If the wearer is rendered unconscious, there is a risk the mouthguard may lodge in the throat potentially causing an airway obstruction.
Custom made mouthguards designed by a qualified sports dentist are the most satisfactory of all types of mouth protectors. They fulfill all the criteria for adaptation, retention, comfort, and stability of material. They interfere the least with speaking, and have virtually no effect on breathing.
According to Dr. Harvey Lester, in his sixteen years of providing custom made athletic mouthguards for the Arizona Cardinals, there has been a significant decrease in the number of oral injuries as well as the severity of concussions. It goes back to the old adage: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
For more information on sports dentistry visit:
Chandler Dentist, Harvey Lester DMD
595 N. Dobson Rd., Ste. B40
Chandler, AZ 85224 USA