I have always enjoyed sports and exercise, but I have grown bored with my workouts lately. For a change of pace, I am actually considering boxing. I don’t really want to fight, but I do want to train. If I give it a try, I’ll probably have to buy some equipment – boxing gloves, a heavy bag, a speed bag, and a mouthguard. So this week’s Ask Dr. Geier column is not only appropriate for athletes in a variety of sports, but the answer potentially helps me as well! As always, please refer to the disclaimer about discussing medical advice online or via email.
A concerned physician asks:
Hello! As fellow MUSC physician, I am so proud to have you represent MUSC & greatly enjoy your sports column! Although it’s not orthopedic-related, we would so appreciate guidance/direction regarding protection from dental injuries in sports. Our son plays basketball, and we’ve read about the PlaySafe mouthguard (@$300!) at the dentist. We had already purchased a ShockDoctor mouthguard ($20), which carries a warranty. They’ would pay up to $10,000 of dental care if a dental injury happens while wearing it.
Thank you for your time!I honestly am not an expert on dental injuries or injury prevention. I posed this question to J. Mark Barry, DDS, MBA, and the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs for the MUSC College of Dental Medicine and the dental consultant for MUSC Sports Medicine. Dr. Barry helped with my post about initial treatment when an athlete has a tooth knocked out in sports, and that posts was very popular. It is great that MUSC Sports Medicine has someone who can help with dental injuries for some of our high-level athletes, like the Family Circle Cup or Charleston Battery players.
Like I cannot and will not endorse specific products, I do not think that his answer endorses or rejects a specific brand. This is Dr. Barry’s response to the reader’s question:
“My opinion on athletic mouthguards is similar to night guards use to protect patients from the destructive effects of clenching and grinding. An athletic mouthguard fabricated by a dentist is better because it is custom made from an impression of the patient’s dentition. A store bought athletic mouthguard is adequate but not as good because it does not fit the athlete’s dentition. Hope this helps.”