“I think anybody who is playing contact sports without a mouth guard is being irresponsible, it’s like going on a motorbike without a helmet”
Dr. Maurice Quirke, Irish Times May 2007
- Protection of Teeth and Orofacial injury
- Concussion Prevention
Mouth guards help limit the risk of mouth related injuries to your lips, tongue, and the soft tissues of your mouth. They also help avoid chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth and tooth loss.
In our increasingly litigious society, dentists, sports organisations, trainers and coaches need to become aware of their legal responsibilities to the sports participant. To ensure there is necessary “informed consent” the athlete/patient/parent needs to be, at least, made aware of the best mouthguard available.
Repeated concussions have been linked to progressive brain disorders including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease by the Boston University School of Medicine in a paper published in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology.
Concussion is prevented by the Gumshield-Pro gumshield by dissipating the force of a blow through its uniformly dense specialist material.
Mouthguard materials by nature must have shock absorption qualities. They must be resilient and yet soft enough to absorb impact energy and reduce transmitted forces. The thickness of mouthguard material is directly related to energy absorption and inversely related to transmitted forces when impacted. However, wearer comfort is also an important factor in their use. Thicker mouthguards are often not user-friendly. Transmitted forces through different thicknesses of the most commonly-used mouthguard material (ethylene vinyl acetate – EVA – Shore Hardness of 80) were compared when impacted with identical forces capable of damaging the oro-facial complex. The results showed that the optimal thickness for EVA mouthguard material with a Shore Hardness of 80 is around 4 mm. on the occlusal surface. All teeth must be properly covered and the bite balanced accordingly. Increased thickness, while improving performance marginally, may result in less wearer comfort and acceptance.
Stenger, in 1964, reported that forces from mandibular impact would be attenuated with a mouthguard, resulting in fewer injuries. Mouth protector s reduced pressure changes and bone deformation within the skull in a cadaver model. He demonstrated a decrease of 50% in the amplitude of the intracranial pressure after a blow to the chin when wearing a mouthguard.
Stenger JM,Lawton EA, Wright JM, Ricketts J, Mouthguards: Protection Against Shock to Head, Neck and Teeth, J Am Dent Assoc. 1964 Sep;69:273-81.PMID: 14178758
Increased Condylar Separation
When a properly-fitted and balanced custom-made mouthguard is in place there is a forward/ downward movement of the jaw, thus opening the space between the glenoid fossa and the condylar head in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) This may reduce the opportunity for the condylar head to directly impact the glenoid fossa after an upward blow to the jaw, thus reducing the impact and acceleration forces to the entire temporal region. Again, while it might be advantageous to significantly open this space for protection, an excessive thickness of material on the biting surface might compromise both comfort and performance.
The GAA has acknowledged the importance of team mentors monitoring instances of concussion in their players and have published guidelines which dictate that for ‘simple concussion’ the player concerned must not return to the field for 7 to 10 days and for ‘complex concussion’ the player may only return following expert medical assessment over a prolonged period. Players may be covered for unrecoverable dental expenses through the GAA Injury Scheme with a maximum payout of €5,000, however the first €60 of any claim is not covered and the scheme is funded from club and GAA funds with no outside involvement and there is no legal obligation for the GAA to provide the scheme. The Gaelic Players Association has also recommended the wearing of gumshields, and has endorsed the wearing of custom pressure laminated gumshields by county players.
Comfort & Style
The Gumshield-Pro custom pressure laminated gumshields are meticulously hand made and fitted to the dental impression of the individual. They are then precision hand-trimmed of any excess mouthguard material which does not offer any protection, allowing the mouth cavity and airway to be unobstructed and affording the wearer maximum protection with minimum aerobic interference. The fit is so snug that the gumshield is self supporting and will not move off the teeth or fall down. This is an important feature for those of us who play team sports, where clear communication can be the difference between winning and losing.
“Brisbane schoolboy swallows mouthguard”, a headline from the Brisbane Sunday Mail on June 25 1995. The newspaper reported an instance where a boil-and-bite mouthguard did not fit properly and was swallowed by the wearer. A common problem with boil-and-bite mouthguards is that they do not fit properly and can become warped with use.
Although all people may not admit it, style in their sport is important; otherwise we would still be playing football in hob-nail boots and knee length shorts! Gumshield-Pro gumshields offer the wearer a wide choice and combination of colours and any other personal motif or graphic they wish to be included on the front or side of the gumshield. We also, as standard, include the name and telephone number of the wearer laminated into the side at the rear of the gumshield to help in their safe return should they be lost.