DENTISTS ISSUE NEW GUIDELINES ON MOUTHGUARDS
IDA PRESIDENT SAYS NEW GAA RULE MUST BE ENFORCED
The Irish Dental Association has issued new guidelines on the use of mouthguards and urged gaelic football referees and coaches to strictly enforce new rules on their mandatory use by juvenile players
From the 1st of January it is compulsory for juvenile gaelic footballers to wear mouthguards in football games and training.
In advance of a practise management seminar in Croke Park which will be attended by 180 dentists from all round the country, the IDA approved a public information document which sets out the key points on mouthguards.
Speaking at the launch of the seminar, the President of the Association, Dr Andrew Bolas said he was concerned at reports that several college footballers were photographed playing without mouthguards in Munster and Leinster games earlier this week.
“Previously we had urged the GAA to bring in this rule and we warmly welcomed it when it was introduced. However strict enforcement from the start is key as we have seen from the success of the ‘no mouthguard no play’ approach adopted by other codes from under 6 right up to minor/u18 level” Dr Bolas said.
According to the new document the majority of traumatic dental injuries occur to the upper front teeth in adults and children. “The use of a properly fitting mouth guard can reduce the incidence of injuries to the teeth and surrounding tissues. A mouth guard should fit properly, adequately cover the teeth and stay in position during impact.”
The new guide urges all those involved in organised sporting activities from players to coaches to managers to be aware of how to deal with unexpected dental trauma as immediate attention is required to maximise the successful outcome of any dental injury.
Dr Bolas said he frequently get called into Sligo General Hospital to treat the results of sports related injuries.
“Some injuries to teeth from a clash of heads or a stray elbow can be quite horrific, with teeth broken, displaced or completely knocked out. It is well worthwhile talking to your dentist about the best options. While customised mouthguards are more expensive initially, they do provide the best comfort and protection and could well prove much cheaper in the long run” Dr Bolas concluded.
The Association says members will be encouraged to place the document in a prominent position in their surgeries.
IDA POSITION STATEMENT ON THE PREVENTION OF SPORTS-RELATED INJURIES
The Irish Dental Association promotes the use of mouthguards (gumshields) in sports to prevent injury to the mouth and teeth, particularly in contact sports. The IDA supports the mandatory use of properly fitting mouthguards in organised activities that carries a risk of orofacial injury. The IDA supports the education of the general public and sports personnel in the prevention of orofacial injuries in various sporting and recreational activities.
The majority of traumatic dental injuries occur to the upper front teeth in adults and children. The use of a properly fitting mouth guard can reduce the incidence of injuries to the teeth and surrounding tissues. A mouth guard should fit properly, adequately cover the teeth and stay in position during impact. Particularly for children who are actively growing, the fit of the mouthguard will need to be revised frequently to maintain good protection. Mouthguards should be worn during training as well as competitive games.
There are 3 types of mouthguards:
- Individualised mouthguards are custom fabricated following an accurate dental impression by your dentist. They are made to fit exactly to the shape, size and bite of each player. These mouthguards provide the best comfort, protection and design. The colour of the mouthguard can be customised. A full dental examination is advisable before making a custom fitted mouthguard. They are less bulky and more comfortable to wear than other types of mouthguards.
- Pre-formed or ‘boil and bite’ mouthguards. These are available in a limited range of sizes and can be moulded to the mouth when softened in hot water. These tend to be bulky, less retentive and offer limited protection to the teeth compared to a custom-fit mouthguard.
- Stock mouthguards. These are also preformed mouthguards in a range of sizes. They fit over the dental arches and do not mould to the teeth. Their retention depends on biting the mouthguard to keep it in place which means that the player cannot speak or breathe without being aware of the mouthguard position. These provide the least amount of protection.
Poorly fitting mouthguards are less likely to be worn, can irritate tissues and reduce protection. Your mouth guard should be regularly examined for fit and retention. Your dentist can advise you of the best type of mouth guard that provides adequate protection in your situation eg. growing child, wearing braces, type of sport, etc.
Participants in organised sporting activities (players, team doctors, physiotherapists, parents and coaches) should also be aware of how to deal with unexpected dental trauma. Since sporting events and training often occur outside normal working hours, it is important that all teams have a dentist on call to help with injured players. Immediate attention is required to maximise the successful outcome of any dental injury.
For more information on mouthguards and traumatic injuries to the mouth, contact your local dentist and refer to www.dentaltraumaguide.com.