Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, July 8, 2010

School of Dentistry sponsoring free mouth guard
clinic Saturday

Amateur athletes ages 5 and older who plan to participate in sports this fall or winter are invited to come to the School of Dentistry on Saturday to be fitted for a free customized mouth guard.

The clinic runs from 9 a.m. until noon. The school is located at 1011 N. University Ave. across the street from the Michigan League. It is not necessary to make an appointment. However, the clinic is limited to the first 120 amateur athletes on a first-come, first-served basis. Children who wear braces also are invited.

Dental and dental hygiene students, supervised by faculty volunteers, will take impressions and make the protective piece of equipment. About two hours are needed to make a mouth guard.

A parent or guardian, who will be asked to fill out a brief medical history form and a consent form, must accompany amateur athletes under the age of 18.

Each student athlete will receive a number and be asked to wait until he or she is called. The wait could be up to 30 minutes depending on the size of the crowd.

Athletes will spend about 15 or 20 minutes in a dental chair as an oral impression is taken, the first step in making the mouth guard. About two hours later, the student athlete will pick up the mouth guard and be asked to try it on to ensure a proper fit. If any adjustments are needed, those will be completed at that time.

A mouth guard is vital for athletes planning to participate in contact sports such as football, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, and ice hockey as well as other activities including skateboarding, rollerblading, or downhill skiing.

Dr. William Godwin, considered by many to be the father of the customized mouth guard and professor emeritus of dentistry and sport dentistry specialist, says the customized mouth guards made by U-M dental students “are more comfortable than the off-the-shelf guards that are sold in stores. We know that the more comfortable the mouth guard is, the more likely it is that the kids will wear them.”