April is National Facial Protection Month

 
Every April, National Facial Protection Month strives to raise public awareness and remind parents, caregivers, coaches, and athletes to play it safe while playing sports.
Hook Orthodontics would like to take the time this month to remind our athletes to wear a mouthguard during recreational and organized sports. A mouthguard is used to protect your mouth from injury when you are participating in sports. 
A mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age when it comes to protecting your mouth. Mouthguards prevent injuries to the bone and tissues around the teeth. They also help prevent injuries to the lower jaw and temporomandibular joint in the jaw.

A properly fitted mouthguard may be especially important for people who wear braces. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouthguard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, which will help you avoid injuries to your gums and cheeks.

Mouthguards are coverings worn over teeth, and often used to protect teeth from injury from teeth grinding and during sports. There are three types of mouthguards:
  • Stock mouthguards are preformed and come ready to wear. They are inexpensive and can be purchased at most sporting goods stores and department stores. However, little can be done to adjust their fit, they are bulky, make breathing and talking difficult, and they provide little or no protection. 
  • Boil and bite mouthguards can also be purchased at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth guards. The "boil and bite" mouthguard is made from thermoplastic material. It is placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure. 
  • Custom-fitted mouthguards are individually designed and made in an orthodontic office. First, Dr. Hook will make an impression of your teeth and then mouthguard is molded over the model using a special material. Due to the use of the special material and because of the extra time and work involved, custom-made mouthguards are a little more expensive than the other types of mouthguards, but they provide the most comfort and protection.

An effective mouthguard should be comfortable, resist tears, be durable and easy to clean, and should not restrict your breathing or speech. Generally, mouthguards cover your upper teeth only, but if you wear braces or another fixed orthodontic appliances on your lower jaw, Dr. Hook will make a mouthguard for your lower teeth as well.

Together with the American Dental Association, Dr. Hook and his team offer the following 4 tips to help prevent facial injury:
  1. Wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports. Mouthguards are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury, and Dr. Hook can make customized mouthguards that hold teeth in place and allow for normal speech and breathing. 
  2. Wear a helmet. Helmets absorb the energy of an impact and help prevent damage to the head. 
  3. Wear protective eyewear. Eyes are extremely vulnerable to damage, especially when playing sports. 
  4. Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin. Hockey pucks, basketballs and racquetballs can cause severe facial damage at any age.
Mouthguards aren’t required for every sport, so it can be easy to forget about wearing them. But…did you know…it’s estimated that over 3 million teeth are knocked out every year in kids’ sports? 

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), more than 200,000 oral injuries are prevented each year by wearing a mouthguard. Mouthguards help prevent chipped, broken, and knocked out teeth. They protect your lips, tongue, face, and also help redistribute forces from a blow to the head. While a mouthguard won’t prevent a concussion, it can reduce the severity of the injury.

Hook Orthodontics

Who Needs a Mouthguard?
Mouthguards should be used by anyone playing contact sports such as football, boxing, soccer, ice hockey, basketball, lacrosse, and field hockey. However, even those participating in noncontact sports (for example, gymnastics) and any recreational activity (for example, skateboarding, mountain biking) that might pose a risk of injury to the mouth would benefit from wearing a protective mouth guard.  

 
If you're an athlete and a patient at Hook Orthodontics, talk to Dr. Hook and his team about selecting a mouthguard that will provide the right protection for you. For more information give us a call at any of our three Oahu offices at (808) 261-4696. Our friendly and knowledgeable team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

And remember…if you have a retainer or other removable appliance, do not wear it while playing any contact sports.

Are you ready to look into a custom-fitted mouthguard for you or your active child? Summertime is the perfect time! Contact Hook Orthodontics for more details and to schedule your next appointment.

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