Sports

Keep that great smile by protecting teeth

Lisa McCrea fits Eric Dale with a custom-made mouthguard during Dr. Chris Bryant’s clinic, a fundraiser for minor softball. - Britt Santowski
Lisa McCrea fits Eric Dale with a custom-made mouthguard during Dr. Chris Bryant’s clinic, a fundraiser for minor softball.
— image credit: Britt Santowski

Did you know that not only can mouthguards save your teeth, they prevent jaw fractures and concussions as well?

That was just one of the facts participants learned when they met with local dentist Chris Bryant this past Saturday in his mouthguard clinic. Once or twice a year, Dr. Bryant has a clinic where he fits and custom-makes mouthguards in-house for anyone who wants one, at a special price. This most recent clinic served as a fundraiser to get training equipment for kids’ softball.

When a child loses an adult tooth, and that tooth is reinserted into the socket within 20 minutes, it has a (small) chance for survival. If that tooth does not survive and is permanently gone, the cost of fitting a replacement can run up to about $4,000.

Generic mouthguards are often ill-fitting, uncomfortable to wear, affect speech, breathing and swallowing. Consequently, they provide minimal protection (if worn at all), and these mouthguards can block the airway in an unconscious athlete, said Bryant.

A custom-made mouthguard fits snug on your teeth and does not become dislodged on a strong exhale or sneeze. Or, for that matter, on a blow to the head.

The final message, said Bryant, is if you or your children run the risk of losing teeth because of a passionate engagement with a sport, you really should contact a dentist and find out more about mouthguards.

It is much cheaper to replace a mouthguard than it is to replace a missing or broken tooth, he said.

The bottom line: adult teeth prefer forever homes.

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