If the level of competition and physical play in your child's sports activities has increased, it's time to get them a custom fitting mouthpiece. There are a lot of oral injuries that can occur during athletic play, and you want to make sure that your child is safe.
Not all mouth guards are created equal. You don't want to walk into a sports store and purchase a mouth guard that you boil and then make an impression in, you want to get a customized piece from your family dentist.
An injury to the facial bones can affect bone growth and development. A shattered bone could require total reconstruction, causing your child to go weeks or months without eating or being able to speak clearly. The mouthpiece is going to absorb some of the force from an encounter with another player or item, to help keep the bones safe. You would hate for your child to have an altered smile for a lifetime, or pain smiling, sucking and chewing because of broken facial bones as a child.
Head injuries and the brain are always a concern for parents. Athletes that were wearing a mouthpiece at the time of an injury were less likely to get a concussion than people who weren't. Wearing a mouth guard can help protect the brain from damage, and preventing a concussion can help prevent long term concussion related problems.
Tooth evulsion in a baby tooth prematurely can lead to cavities in the adult teeth waiting to come through, and gum tissue concerns in the open area. Evulsion of a permanent tooth can lead to a lifetime of maintenance, and can be costly. The tooth will need to be replaced with a permanent dental implant, a crown, bridge, or partial dentures. The mouth piece is going to help prevent evulsion, along with chips and breaks.
The cost of a sports mouth guard that is made by your dental professional is worth the investment. Your dental or health insurance provider may be willing to pay for the cost for the mouthpiece to be made, since this could prevent an injury that is going to cost them money. As your child grows and their jaw changes, you'll want to have new mouth guards made. If you are worried about your child's smile and health, do everything you can do to protect it with a sports mouth guard.