As a sports dentist, Dr. Easter provides state-of-the-art, NFL anti-concussion mouthguards designed to decrease the incidence and severity of head concussions.
How do Mouthguards Protect Against Concussions?
A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury that occurs after a blow to the head, causing the brain to push against the inside of the skull and bruise. When a player hits their head, their mandible and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) slam shut against the skull, which causes a secondary or double-sided impact to the brain. An anti-concussion mouthguard is a custom-made mouthpiece made of a special material (EVA, or ethylene vinyl acetate), that fits incredibly and can absorb much of the force of this secondary impact to the head.
The Genesis of Mouthguards
For decades, over-the-counter boil-and-bite mouthguards were the gold standard for preventing dental injuries during sporting events. But as research expanded and technology improved, dentists around the world recommended custom-fit mouthguards to contour to the exact shape of your teeth.
The most popular version of the custom-fit mouthguard was the vacuum mouthguard. The material is made out of poly-EVA and is fabricated into a single layer that precisely adapts to your teeth and gums.
And while these vacuum mouthguards are more effective than the boil-and-bite predecessors in preventing tooth injuries, they still don’t offer much in terms of absorption in the mouth and concussion prevention.
By thermo-chemically fusing multiple layers of EVA material together in high heat, scientists created what’s known as the laboratory dual-layered, pressure-laminated mouthguard, which we refer to as anti-concussion mouthguards. Like vacuum mouthguards, anti-concussion mouthguards adapt to the teeth and gums. But these mouthguards fit and wear comfortably, last longer and provide much better protection due to the material and technology used in fabricating them.
Studies show a direct correlation to the appropriate bite thickness of these multi-layered EVA mouthguards to a reduction in concussions among athletes. As the science behind the dangers of concussions grows, it is becoming more clear that athletes should take every measure of precaution available to prevent concussions from happening – children to the professional athletes alike!