Most of us want to see out youths and young adults play sport and for those that choose contact sport the possibility of brain injury from concussion is a definite reality.
As our youth are becoming bigger and faster and our sports more demanding, the physical impact of collisions through tackle or by accident are becoming more traumatic and concussion more evident.
Most sports have taken a very responsible approach to the risk of brain injury by changing rules of sport to lower risk of injury, teaching players to improve techniques during heavy contact and having monitoring systems in place by officials to remove suspected injured players from the game.
Concussion is caused by the rapid impact of the brain and beginnings of the spinal cord against the confinement of the skull. It can also be caused by the lower jaw being driven against the skull where the joints are located.
For many years sports people wore a mouth guard with purely the thought that it would prevent injuries to teeth during impact. Of equal if not greater importance is to wear a mouth guard to prevent the lower jaws impacting heavily against the skull during heavy contact.
A properly made mouth guard by a dental professional equalises the force generated by collision over the jaws in general and separates the lower jaw from impact with the skull.
Over the past few years Dental on Raffles has made a strong commitment to helping minimize the chance of concussion by making mouth guards for the Hawke's Bay Magpies, the rugby academy and more recently the Women's Tui team.
As part of a new addition to our community service we have extended our commitment to safety by offering to make complimentary mouth guards for all secondary school students enrolled with us who are playing contact sports (13yrs – 18yrs).
All our mouth guards are custom made so that the wearer has the best fit possible to minimize impact and for comfort. There is no comparison to the fit of the "boil and bite" type of mouth guard that can be purchased over the counter to a custom made mouth guard.
We are fully aware that young people are going through an active growing stage of their development whilst they are part of the Ministry of Health scheme so there is a chance of outgrowing ones mouth guard. We are happy to make new ones. There are several grades of mouth guard materials that we use ending with laminate that our top athletes use.
The process is simple with an appointment to take impressions and then approximately a week later you will receive a phone call to collect your mouth guard.
Gary Winter BDS
Dental on Raffles