Like many of us, Dr. James Ryan has young kids who are heavily involved in youth sports. In fact, his three kids’ favorite sport is ice hockey. Unlike many of us, Dr. Ryan has seen first hand the face and head injuries that young athletes can incur. As an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Washington, DC he is often the one who has to treat these sports related injuries.

Dr. Ryan, Dr. Emery and the rest of us here at CCOMFS recently had the opportunity to make custom mouth guards for several teams in the Montgomery Youth Hockey Association in Montgomery County Maryland. Mouth guards play an important role in reducing dental and oral-facial injuries.

Here are Dr. Ryan’s children sporting their brand new, custom mouth guards in hockey!

When Do You Need A Mouth Guard

Put simply, any time you or your children participate in sports a mouth guard should be worn. Mouth guards protect the beautiful smiles of yours that may very well have cost thousands of dollars in orthodontics, dental care and every day maintenance and hygiene. Nobody wants to see that destroyed by an errant baseball pitch or stray hockey puck. Mouth guards reduce the risk of breaking your jaw and/or knocking out teeth.

Common Sports That Require Mouth Guards

Most likely if your children participate in organized youth leagues of most any sport the use of mouth guards is required. Sports where mouth guards are common include:

  • Football
  • Lacrosse
  • Hockey
  • Baseball
  • Soccer

Sports Where Mouth Guard Use Is Less Common

Any time you’re engaged in an activity when your face can possibly come into contact with something hard a mouth guard should be standard equipment. “Something hard” can include another player, pavement, a ball, a tree or any other hard object. Some of these activities include:

  • Cheerleading
  • Skateboarding
  • Gymnastics
  • Skiing or snowboarding
  • Mountain biking

The list goes on.

Selecting The Right Mouth Guard

There are several types of mouth guards available and they vary by cost and also by the effectiveness in terms of protection. The two most common types are:

  • Custom Made- made by a dental professional using an impression of your teeth, custom made mouth guards provide the most protection and comfort. These are also usually the most expensive.
  • Mouth-formed- also known as “boil and bite” these can be bought in most sporting goods stores and are then boiled, cooled and placed in your mouth to harden for a better fit. While these are the most popular they will not work for everyone, especially those with braces.

The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Association of Orthodontists teamed up to put together a great chart of the different types of mouth guards available, including their pros and cons. Click on the image below to see the chart:

Of course, not every injury can be prevented no matter how cautious we all are. If you have sustained a dental or oral-facial sports related injury Dr. Emery and Dr. Ryan are here to help. Please call our office at 202-386-7100 and we will get you in as soon as possible.