Dental injuries can be permanent and disfiguring. This happens a lot in basketball especially to the face, whether people know it or not. This begs the question, can a mouthguard help?
They are also universally expensive to treat. Many dentists, sports physicians, and athletic trainers recommend mouthguards for professional athletes participating in individual competitive sports, including men’s college basketball, because of a common perception that mouthguards afford protection from dental injuries and sometimes concussions.
Still, there are few reliable reports of the incidence of dental injuries and concussions in men’s college basketball, and good evidence that mouthguards reduce the risk of these injuries in this population of athletes is notably lacking.
Over the years, people find that stock mouthguards fit loosely over the maxillary teeth. This type of mouthguard is often provided by orthodontists for patients who are in full bonded or banded appliances. Several factors influence the comfort and wearability of mouthguards such as the stability and retention of the mouthguards and the player’s ability to speak and breathe with the mouthguard in place.
In general, athletes are aware of the benefits of mouthguards and prefer the custom mouthguard when given a choice. The cost and inconvenience of having to make a dental appointment to obtain a custom mouthguard appear to be a significant drawback. Perhaps general dentists should become more involved in the prevention of sports-related injuries.
Dentists could make periodic inquiries about the sports activities of their patients and determine who is at risk of orofacial injury. Dentists might offer these patients the service of having a custom mouthguard made as a part of regular dental visits. There are some patients who would also get mouthguards for jiujitsu and other sports.
Mouthguards probably need to be replaced after each sports season, which could tie in with the patient’s six-month dental check-up. Athletes should be informed about the high risk of oral injuries when participating in contact sports. Dentists should play a more significant role in the program of promoting mouthguard use to prevent the occurrence of oral injury in sport participation.