Yvonne S. Hanley D.D.S | Mark K. Murphy D.D.S

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1409 College Way | Fergus Falls, MN 56537

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Open Monday - Thursday. Phone: 218-739-3245

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School is Starting, So Watch Your Mouth!!

We are hearing more and more in the popular press about the rising incidence of concussions in competitive sports, from the professional down to the high school level. Our high school students are now being given baseline reflex and cognitive testing at the beginning of the season to be used as a comparison in evaluating whether a concussion may have been sustained. So how is this related to the dental field?? And where are you going with this??

The lower jaw, lower teeth, and the muscles and soft tissue connected to the lower jaw weigh over a pound. In the course of a sporting event, when a person's head hits the ground, a knee, an elbow, a baseball, goalpost, boxing glove or even another player's helmet...it is not unusual for that more-than-1-pound weight of the lower jaw to whack the upper jaw in a whiplash-like reaction (not too good for the teeth either!). Numerous studies have been done which show this impact to be the cause of or a contributing factor to the severity of a concussion.

If the lower jaw structures can be prevented from this impact, concussions can be lessened in frequency and severity. What can be done to prevent this?? A well-fitting, custom made, vacuum-formed mouthguard. In addition to their long-known ability to prevent teeth from being broken, loosened or even knocked out, prevention of concussions is another thing mouthguards excel at.

We take a mold of the athlete's mouth, and from that we can make a mouthguard that is well-fitting and comfortable to wear, and the special material it is made of offers added concussion protection when compared to the older style of "one-size-fits-none" or "boil-and-bite" mouthguards that are available anywhere but a dental office. Since we make them here in our office, the time necessary is only a day or two, and the cost is $40. When compared to the cost of a dental injury that may amount to thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime...there is no comparison. A concussion can take the expense into the stratosphere! With hockey sticks costing $150-$300 each, and athletic shoes costing over $150, please consider this as part of the necessary equipment to keep your athletes as safe as possible in this new school year. Your sport may not require a mouthguard at all, and no sport requires the custom-fitted ones that work the best that I am recommending here.

We have seen and treated injuries here in our office that occurred in all these sports:
Snow Skiing
ATV riding

You will notice that many of these activities aren't typically thought of as contact sports...but they can turn out to be! Ask us for more information so we can help your athlete prevent head and oral trauma.


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