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News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin April 2011
23 APRIL 2011 Modern MOUTHGUARDS committee report InTROdUCTIOn Custom-built mouthguards will provide protection, comfort and durability. This is only achievable when design, construction, method, and materials, are correctly selected. fIRST MOUTHGUARdS The first commercial mouthguard was imported from the USA in 1959. It was named ‘The Featherbite’. It was a shell type mouthguard, similar to today’s boil and bite mouthguards needing hot water to shape then cold water immersion to preserve the impression created when the warmed mouthguard was fitted over the upper teeth. This self-forming mouthguard was not a success. Today, there is still no self-forming mouthguard that provides the same level of protection as a custom-fitted pressure laminated mouthguard. In 1966 the University of Melbourne, investigating dental injuries in Australian sport, looked at the effectiveness of the current mouthguards in minimizing injuries. The results recommended using better materials particularly newer types of plastics. Also a better system of fabricating mouthguards was needed to ensure accurate fit as well as eliminating the problem of elastic memory which is a significant factor in mouthguards constructed with low heat and vacuum. The introduction of pressure lamination machines from Germany in 1974 was the solution. At this time, Dr Keith Hunter, who is the father of Australian Sports Dentistry, was working as a consultant for the Dental Health Foundation of Australia. Dr Hunter, using a pressure-laminated machine, started experimenting with laminated mouthguards and supplying them to professional rugby players. MOUTHGUARd COnSTRUCTIOn COURSES In 1996, the Dental Health Foundation of Australia started hands-on courses teaching pressure lamination to construct mouthguards. This course is now conducted by the ADA NSW Centre for Professional Development in St Leonards NSW. Four mouthguard designs are taught. Modern mouthguards are defined as mouthguards formed from models of the users’ jaws. They consist of multiple layers of ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) adapted under pressure to specific designs. The Australian Dental Association has been a great supporter of sports dentistry and recommends that only professionally made mouthguards should be used. In 2003, Standards Australia and the Australian Dental Association published a handbook; HB 209 entitled Guidelines for the fabrication, wear, and maintenance of sports mouthguards. Today, in Australia the production of mouthguards continues all year round where previously it was restricted to the winter months. Many sports that were regarded as non-contact such as basketball, netball, softball and soccer are recording an increasing number of dental and orofacial injuries. This has occurred due to more aggressive contact between large, more competitive and speedier players. Athletes in these sports are now advised to wear custom-built pressure laminated mouthguards. Fig 1. Field hockey – age 14. Fig 2. Cricket – age 8. “Custom-built mouthguards will provide protection, comfort and durability.”
ADA News Bulletin March 2011
ADA News Bulletin May 2011