Bright orange mouthguards caught spectator’s’ eyes last fall as the Mahomet-Seymour Football team donned custom-made mouth guards.
But the mouthguards were for more than show. Illinois high school football players are required to wear helmets and pads to protect their body and mouthguards to protect their teeth upon collision.
Knowing this, and knowing how custom-made mouthguards affect a student-athlete’s decision to wear their mouthguard, Dr. Nezar Kassem from Mahomet Family Dentistry, located at 2012 Tin Cup Road, has offered free custom-made mouth guards to Mahomet-Seymour football players for two consecutive years.
“If it is comfortable, they will wear it,” Kassem said. “Sometimes the boil-and-bite mouthpieces aren’t as form fitted as a custom-made mouthguard.”
Mahomet-Seymour Football players agreed, saying the custom-fit mouthguards allowed them to still communicate on the field while not having to deal with the boil-and-bite mouthguards popping out while they played. The student-athletes also said the mouthguards form to fit their teeth perfectly, making them more comfortable to wear.
Kassem said that he also saw student-athletes wear the mouthguards during wrestling and basketball last year.
In August of 2016, Kassem’s team met Mahomet-Seymour football players at Mahomet-Seymour High School after practice to create the mouthguards. This year, the Mahomet Family Dentistry team invited freshmen through senior athletes to join them at the office in order to make the process of creating the mouthguards seamless.
“When I brought this event up to the staff, they definitely wanted to participate in it again,” Kassem said. “It was one of the highlights of our year.”
“They are excited to offer this service to the football team,” he continued. We thought it was well worth our time.”
By hosting the event at the office, the hygienists, Laura and Shannon, alongside Dr. Kassem were able to make the impressions of the athlete’s teeth while Terri made sure they had a steady supply of tools needed to make the impression solution. Amanda was at the front desk, with the athletes to sign-in and take a number while Jenn Kassem and Amy were in the back laboratory pouring the models. The Mahomet Family Dentistry team was also able to provide cookies and water for the athletes after their impressions were complete.
The Mahomet-Seymour football team will have their mouthguards by the time they play their first game.
Dr. Kassem said custom-made mouthguards are available for all youth playing sports by making an appointment by calling 217.586.7878.
More than 5 million teeth are injured or knocked out every year, resulting in $500 million spent on replacing teeth. Athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer harm to their teeth when not wearing a mouth guard. While nearly 80-percent of all traumatic dental injuries occur to the top front teeth, mouthguards also help prevent damage to the lips, tongue, and cheek.
A study in the journal of the Academy of General Dentistry also found “that high school football players who wore store-bought mouthguards were more than twice as likely to suffer mild traumatic brain injuries than those wearing properly fitted, custom mouthguards.”