Protect the Smile, Protect the Brain: The Importance of Mouthguards

Back to school planning also includes getting your kids ready to play sports. Don't wait until the last minute to get one of the most overlooked, but important pieces of equipment - the custom mouthguard or oral appliance.


Safeguard Their Smile

Mouthguards are essential to protect teeth and avoid costly emergency dental treatment. When a blow is delivered to the mouth, the impact is absorbed by the structures in the mouth - often the teeth - and a forceful impact can cause tooth fracture, damage existing dental work, and tooth dislodgement. Mouth guards help by absorbing the energy of a blow, allowing the force of it to be distributed across a greater space, which minimizes the damage done to the teeth.

Each year, thousands of adults and children are treated for dental injuries that could have been prevented or minimized by wearing an oral appliance. 

Protect Their Brain

In addition to avoiding costly dental injuries, custom mouth guards have also been proven to assist in concussion prevention in youth athletes.

In a recent study, high school football players wearing store-bought, over-the-counter mouth guards were more than twice as likely to suffer mild traumatic brain injuries/concussions than those wearing custom-made, properly fitted oral appliances.

Teenagers need more time to recover from concussions than adults and multiple concussions can cause permanent brain damage.

The Center for Disease Control reports the following statistics:

  • Every year in the U.S. there are an estimated 300,000 High School athletes who suffer sports-related concussions.
  • Football players have a 47.1% chance of sustaining a concussion, the highest of any other high school sport.
  • Lacrosse, soccer, wrestling, basketball, softball, volleyball, and baseball round out the sports where teenagers have an increased chance of sustaining a concussion.

Proper Fit = Consistent Use

It is important to note that in order to be to be effective, mouthpieces have to be consistently utilized. A custom oral appliance that has been fitted by a qualified dentist is more comfortable and makes it easier for the athlete to speak and breathe and therefore, more likely to be worn.

Custom oral appliances fit and protect better than the outdated boil and bite type appliances because they are constructed specifically for the individual’s oral structure.  A study by Academy of American Dentistry concluded

when it comes to buying a mouth guard, parents who want to reduce their child's risk of a sports-related concussion should visit a dentist instead of a sporting goods store.

At The Center for Sleep and TMJ Disorders, our custom FDA-approved oral appliances are fabricated and fitted on site, usually within a few days. 

Contact Us About Custom Oral Appliances


About Dr. Gloria Maczuga-Stern

Dr. Gloria Maczuga-Stern has practiced general dentistry in New York and Connecticut for 19 years. Her own personal experience with TMD led her to pursue further training for her pediatric, adult, and geriatric patients. At the Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders she has been providing conservative, non-invasive treatment to patients with sleep breathing and temporomandibular joint disorders since 2008.

Dr. Stern strives to provide her patients with the highest level of care. Passionate about continuous education, she has over 2,500 hours of advanced education including orofacial pain, tmj disorders, and sleep disorder dentistry. As a result she is able to offer her patients the latest advancements in this field.

Dr. Stern received advanced training in temporomandibular disorders and sleep disorder dentistry from the Institute of TMD and Sleep Disorders and the Craniofacial Pain Center at Tufts University, and is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine as well as a Certificate holder of the of American Academy of Integrative Pain Management.

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