August 9, 2016
Your daughter’s volleyball team is midway through the season. They are having one of the better year’s in her school’s recent history, and there is some excitement that maybe this team will make some noise in the postseason.
Today’s match is against one of the higher ranked teams in the region. It will be a good test to see how your daughter’s team measures up.
As the match starts, it’s pretty obvious that the other team is trying to focus their offense on their middle hitter. She’s big and she’s strong. Her kills echo through the gym.
Near the end of the first game, the big girl gets a perfect set, and she slams the ball in your daughter’s direction.
Your daughter dives in a valiant attempt to get the ball. Instead, the ball ricochets off the floor and right into your daughter’s face. She winces in pain and rolls over.
The trainer rushes out to her and gives you a signal that she is OK. The coach does take her out, and someone brings her some ice.
During the break between games, you go down to check on her yourself. She’s definitely got a swollen lip, but that that appears to be all.
Thank goodness she was wearing the athletic mouthguard you got for her at the dentist office of J. Wesley Anderson, Jr., DDS, in Virginia Beach, VA, before the season.
Should Your Child Be Wearing A Mouthguard?
Athletic mouthguards are required equipment in some sports, but they should be worn in many others according to both the American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Any athlete who participates in any high-impact sport should wear an athletic mouthguard.
So, what is considered a high-impact sport?
Some are more obvious than others. Combat sports like boxing, wrestling, and mixed martial arts would fall in this categories. It’s also not a coincidence that boxers were the first athletes to start wearing mouthguards during competitions.
Contact sports like field hockey and football are also examples of high-impact sports. The risk of injury comes from contact with other players and the potential impact with sports equipment.
The finals examples of high-impact sports include any sport that involves heavy impacts on the supportive joints (ankles, knees, and hips) as a result of frequent changes in speed or direction of frequent jumping. By this definition volleyball, basketball, and cheerleading would fit the bill.
We aren’t giving you an all-inclusive list. We just want to make sure you understand the kinds of activities in which a mouthguard is recommended.
Benefits Of An Athletic Mouthguard
You should think of a mouthguard the same way you think of a seatbelt.
You should be wearing it whenever you need it. For a seatbelt, that should mean every time you are driving or riding in an automobile. For a mouthguard, this means any time you are practicing or competing in a high-impact sport.
A direct impact to the mouth or jaw (like a volleyball to the mouth) has the potential to break, loosen, or knock out one or more teeth.
But that’s not the only way someone’s teeth can be injured. A hard landing or fall could cause someone’s teeth to slam closed. In addition to the potential injuries if you accidentally bite your tongue, cheek, or lip, this could a cause you to crack or chip your teeth.
A mouthguard should cover your upper teeth and have material between the upper and lower teeth as well as between the upper teeth and the soft tissues of the cheeks.
It may be tempting to get a boil-and-bite mouthguard from a sporting goods store. These are less expensive, and it is better to have a mouthguard than no mouthguard at all.
However, these mouthguards can be bulky, which can make the uncomfortable for some people to wear. For others, the bulky mouthguards may interfere with their breathing, and they will make it more difficult to communicate with your teammates.
If you come to our dentist office in Virginia Beach, VA, we can get a custom-fitted athletic mouthguard for your son or daughter. The ADA and AAPD both recommend this kind of mouthguard.
These are smaller than store brands, but they provide better protection. This makes them more comfortable, as well as less likely to affect breathing or communication.
While they are more expensive than the store brands, they are less expensive than replacing or repairing a tooth.
Even if your team has already started practicing, it’s never too late to get a custom-fitted mouthguard.