Which Mouthguard?….. It’s All About The Bite!
Author Dr Raj Raveendranathan (BDS, Ph.D, Dip. N.M.Orthodontics, Dip. Dental Sleep Medicine, Diplomate in Orthodontics, FAACP, FICCMO, Bangalore, India) is a Neuromuscular Dentistry specialist, Director of ICCMO-India Section, Secretary of ICCMO International and Chairman of Rite Bite Craniofacial Pain Centre chain of clinics, India. Dr Raj is a Keynote Speaker at the DentalReach Conference & Awards (DRDCA) 22: Sports Dentistry Edition. Brochure & Registration Link: Click here
A 2-in-1 mouthguard
There are hundreds of types of mouthguards or sports appliances out there. Every day a specialist wakes up one day and says, “EUREKA …. I have discovered a new mouthguard!”
Which one do we select? Is it all about the design?
Of course, the design of the mouthguard is important. But what if we can provide more than just a “GUARD”?
What if we can incorporate the aspect of PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT into the mouthguard? A mouth guard that can protect the oral tissues as well as help improve your performance!
It’s all in the bite.
The way your teeth occlude decides the overall posture and balance of the person. The second before an athlete delivers all his/her might into the sporting activity they are into, the teeth go into MIP. If the MIP is unbalanced, then that imbalance cascades into a downward spiral that would affect the posture and hence the performance of that person. It maybe in fractions, but that’s all that’s needed to win the elusive gold. The TMJ forms the most superior joint in the postural chain of the body. And the occlusion decides the function and anatomy of the TMJ.
But which bite?
Muscle Facilitation Test Bite?
Dynamic Decompression Bite?
K7 Nm Bite?
Anterior Jig Bite?
Unfortunately, there are no research papers yet to prove this.
My Personal Bite Choice!
A mouthguard that’s fabricated with the bite registration done on a “TENS-induced EMG-verified bilaterally-symmetric-isotonic-muscular-trajectory” is my go-to method as it’s evidence-based. This is how Neuromuscular Dentistry can help an athlete attain a balanced posture from head to toe. The team trainer or physiotherapist works on the posture of the athlete after the event only for the athlete to go back to the faulty posture the next day itself. This is because the importance of the maxillo-mandibular position is not given enough credence.
From something as small as a tongue-tie to checking cranial nerve functioning and confirming the sway and gait patterns;
and to making the necessary orthotic keeping all these in mind, will help us create that perfect sports appliance for the athlete.
So now do you realise? We, dentists, are more than just TOOTH-DOCTORS!