Why see an endodontist? Sometimes there are unavoidable situations, such as a root canal even when you followed your general dentist’s instructions perfectly. Other times, you’re referred to see an endodontist because of trauma that was preventable with the right protection. Athletes of all ages are wise to use a mouthguard when playing or practicing a sport. Yes, they can be uncomfortable—but only if you opt for a non-custom mouthguard or one made from low quality materials.
Your mouth deserves better, and why would you sign up for a cracked, chipped or knocked out tooth if you don’t have to? Whether you play in an adult intramural league or you’re outfitting Little Johnny for his peewee football team, sports protection isn’t just about stretching and shin guards. Just like every other bone in your body, your teeth aren’t unbreakable and they need the right safeguarding.
Bring in the Ringer
The National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety (NYSFS) reports that a dentist-made custom mouthguard is proven to reduce the risk of concussions, mandibular injuries and dental traumas. The first study on the benefits of mouthguards was conducted by the Notre Dame football team in 1962, which was the first time professionally created custom mouthguards were used. However, dental injuries are still the most common orofacial injury for athletes of all ages—and the NYSFS notes that the vast majority are preventable.
You’re 60 times more likely to hurt your teeth in sports if you forego a mouthguard, and every single athlete in a contact sport faces a 10 percent chance each season of receiving an orofacial surgery. Without dental insurance, it costs thousands to replant a tooth (including follow-up treatment), and the overall fee per fractured tooth is phenomenally more expensive than even the best customized mouthguard.
And if you don’t get a proper replanting? Your lifetime costs can be up to $20,000 per tooth—that’s in addition to many hours in the dental chair. The NYSFS estimates about 200,000 injuries are prevented by the use of mouthguards every year in college and high school football alone. However, those cheap mouthguards bought at sporting goods stores (even the “custom options” that require boiling) provide little to no protection. In fact, they can get lodged in the throat if an athlete is knocked unconscious, ultimately contributing to the injuries, pain and risk factors.
Sports are already risky enough without pressing your luck. Opting for a dentist-designed mouthguard stacks the odds in your favor—and are much more effective than those unwashed “lucky socks.”