It might be even more important for kids to wear mouth guards because their bottom jaw tends to grow last, leaving those big front teeth unprotected and exposed to danger from the time they are about 6 years old until they finish growing!
Dr. McAdams has had a lifelong battle with a dark front tooth resulting from a wrestling injury in high school and this is why we are promoting the use of sports mouthguards for all athletes. The easiest method to protect your teeth is to pick up a "boil and bite" guard at any sporting goods store. These are a good alternative for growing kids because they are inexpensive to replace and not the biggest deal if they get lost! A custom made dental mouth guard is a good idea for those who have a hard time breathing with the store bought guards because we can make them sleeker, however, there is a bit more cost involved. Regardless of which kind of guard you use…just use it! Your teeth will thank you later.
You never know when you might wish you'd been wearing a guard. You might be surprised at the causes of the top 5 dental sports injuries Dr. McAdams has witnessed in his career:
5. An unnamed dental school classmate of Dr. McAdams was out for a jog in San Francisco when she stepped off a curb and was hit by a car. Fortunately for her, she survived, but her front teeth required an extraction, Bone/gum grafting, an implant and a root canal before a lot of porcelain was used to put her back together.
4. Recently a patient in our practice caught a frisbee in the mouth during a game of ultimate frisbee. His tooth took a few weeks to show its injury, but a root canal and an internal whitening session were completed early enough that we bet you couldn't tell which tooth it was!
3. Dr. McAdams caught an elbow from a team mate at wrestling practice resulting in a re-positioned front tooth that turned black before he sought treatment. Multiple endodontic treatments and several internal whitening sessions have gotten it "almost back to normal." That injury ended his theory of wearing the guard only during competition.
2. Another unnamed dental school classmate of Dr. McAdams was at the beach and caught a mouth full of surf board on the recoil from his ankle strap. One broken incisor and several mis-aligned teeth resulted.
1. Dr. McAdams is a big MMA fan, and he watched as Lyoto Machida actually kicked one of Randy Couture's front teeth out at UFC 129. The most impressive part of this was that he WAS wearing a mouth guard, can you imagine how many teeth he would have lost otherwise?
Have more questions about sports mouth guards? Get them answered here: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/m/mouthguards.aspx