A hit to the chin is just one way for an athlete to sustain a concussion.
A hit to the chin is just one way for an athlete to sustain a concussion.
Today, I am writing this article as much as a concerned parent as I am a dentist. As the parent of three student-athletes, it is apparent that more emphasis is being placed on concussions. This is true for athletics at the youngest level on up to professional sports.
When a son or daughter participates in school sports, parents and athletes have numerous forms to complete prior to the season; and I would venture to guess that at this point, half of the forms now deal solely with the subject of concussions. At my son’s pre-season soccer meeting at school, a significant amount of time was spent discussing this issue.
The reality is that there are between an estimated 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States every year. For young people ages 15 to 24 years, sports are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury only behind motor vehicle accidents.
There are three ways an athlete can get a concussion: a direct blow to the head (or helmet), an impact to the body which causes a whiplash effect on the head, and a direct blow to the lower jaw. The force of an impact to the lower jaw can radiate through the thinnest part of the brain case (temporal bone) and be transmitted to the brain causing a concussion.
It is widely accepted that sports mouth guards reduce the likelihood of dental trauma. In fact, mouth guards prevent an estimated 200,000 injuries each year in high school and collegiate football alone. A specific design of mouth guard – the Maher Mouth Guard – is now showing promise in the reduction of concussions as well.
Custom mouth guards (as opposed to store bought) in general have been shown to enhance performance by allowing for easier breathing and speaking on the field. The Maher Mouth Guard takes these benefits a huge step forward by positioning and stabilizing the lower jaw to reduce the likelihood of concussion. The patented design of the Maher Mouth Guard is what distinguishes it from other mouth guards that have not been shown to adequately dissipate the forces of an impact to the lower jaw.
It is important to point out that no athletic gear, including helmets, can guarantee the prevention of concussions. Therefore, it is critical that we do everything we can to mitigate the risk.
Fortunately, we have seen success in reducing the likelihood of concussion by those athletes wearing this mouth guard while participating in sports.
An understanding of the tempero-mandibular joint is essential in the proper fabrication of this appliance.
If you have concerns about concussions in sports and feel that your son or daughter would benefit from the Maher Mouth Guard, please contact my office.

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