Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Coincidence? Independence Examiner writes about mouthguards.

I've written about mouthguards on here somewhat recently, there have been two articles in the Independence examiner lately about the Wood Bat Tournament player who we helped that sustained an oral injury during a baseball game, and now the Examiner writes an article about the importance of mouthguards too! I agree they are important.

Here is their article:


Special to The Examiner
Posted Aug 17, 2009 @ 10:49 PM

Independence, MO —
As sports have become more violent there has been an increasing rate of injuries to the face.

There are between 650,000 and 2 million sports-related dental and oral injuries annually. Many sports, including football, require mouth guards for protection, but most do not. What do you know?

True or false

1. Mouth guards protect against concussion.

2. Missouri high school soccer requires mouth guards.

3. Missouri high school baseball requires mouth guards.

Mouth guards are intended to protect teeth from fracture and avulsion. They also protect lips, tongue and gums.

A properly fitted guard should stay in place during physical activity, be easily removed and not interfere with breathing or talking according to the American Dental Association.

There are 3 types of mouth guards: stock; boil and bite and custom-fitted. Stock guards are one-size-fits-all devices which are ready to wear.

Unfortunately, they are the least protective and most poorly-fitted of any of the guards. Stock guards are, however, the most inexpensive and easily found for less than 5 dollars. ‘Boil and bite’ guards are very malleable when heated in boiling water making them easily formed to teeth. They fit very well, if directions are followed. Boil and bite guards offer good protection and are moderately priced, usually less than 20 dollars. The most expensive, but most protective, are custom-fitted guards.

These are formed and fitted by a dentist and are better than any off the shelf version. Also, they can often last through several seasons.

Although not required, the use of a mouth guard in basketball and any contact and collision sport is strongly urged by most sports medicine societies. High school softball, a fall sport in Missouri, does not require mouth guards.

However, all players should consider using them. It is frightful to see a line drive speeding toward the face of a girl playing third base 25 feet or closer to the batter.

First basemen (women?!) and batters are also at high risk. There are guards designed specifically for girls and women with smaller and narrower gums than boys.

There have been many assertions that mouth guards prevent concussions. They do not.

There is no good scientific evidence to support these claims. There is no question they protect teeth and mouth.

If you participate in any contact or collision sport, ask your dentist about mouth guards, even if your sport does not require it.

Common sense should prevail over any particular sports-specific rule. An ounce of prevention is certainly worth a pound (or thousands of dollars) at the emergency department or dentist’s office. Athletes are more beautiful when they have all of their teeth and no stitches.

It’s not wimpy to wear a mouth guard, its smart.

Be a trendsetter.


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Follow Up Article in Independence Examiner about Meiners Dentistry

This article was written by our young patient Zach Levy's mother on his experiences while in Independence for the Wood Bat Tournament:


Submitted to The Examiner
Posted Jul 29, 2009 @ 11:02 AM

St. Peters, Mo. —

We were in from St. Louis for the recent Wood Bat Tournament in Independence, and a tipped ball shattered the tooth of my son, Zach Levy, the catcher for the Spartans.

As he spit blood and caught his balance, people ran for ice as I ran to see him. The Fike team was up to play next and their coach – Dr. Matt Hagerty, a dentist – ran to Zach. He said the nerve of the tooth was showing and said for us to get him to someone quickly. I said I was from out of town and asked for directions to the hospital.

He took me to a room at the park, and they calmed me down. The dentist made some calls and said, “I can’t take care of your son because our team is about to go out, but my partner across the street just said he will take you if you want.”

I was very nervous about not knowing these people but felt good with how we had been treated so far, so we went one exit away to Noland Road, walked into Dr. Donald Meiners’ dental office, and they were standing at the door waiting for us. I almost cried to see they stopped what they were doing at the end of the day to stay for complete strangers and rushed Zach right in to the chair.

We had two office workers giving my husband and I water, patting our shoulders to calm us. The doctor, his son (a dentist with the same practice, also named Zach), and the assistant all rushed to examine my son Zach. They never even asked us once about our dental or medical insurance info. As far as they knew, we didn’t have any, they were only concerned with one thing – caring for and fixing my son.

I have never had such wonderful and quick attention from any health-care provider, even when my two kids tore their ACLs. I couldn’t believe how absolutely kind, caring, gentle and professional they were. Long after the care was being provided they asked if we had any insurance, which we do, and even so they were not concerned if we were good for our bill. Wow – I couldn’t believe the dollar value was not a concern at that time.

The doctor called us in the room with Zach as they did all the examining work and explaining our next steps to repair his teeth. He cracked the other front tooth also. The office sent us off with snack for Zach, and set aside time at the end of the day on Friday to continue the repair and bond a new tooth. Unbelievable – the good people at the ballpark, the dentist coach of Fike who set this all up and gave initial care to Zach, then the incredible kindness and care we received from Dr. Meiners.

We were treated by all as travelers and, everyone pulled together to care for my son so well. People at the park have asked me over and over how Zach, or that catcher with the broken tooth, is doing. Also, Zach hit the walk-off home run on field 1 just prior to the second doubleheader game at field 2 where he was hurt.

Karen Levy and her family live in St. Peters, Mo.