Custom-Made Mouth Guards Prevent Concussions

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Memphis) Did you know every three minutes in the U.S., somebody walks into an emergency room with a concussion?

Safe Kids Worldwide says half of those injured are between the ages of 12 and 15 years old.

If you have a child that plays sports, that might be a concern on your mind.

Some believe a proper mouth guard can make all the difference.

When you think of mouth guards, you might think they’re for preventing cracked teeth but Ben Scharff of Iron Jaw says they are much more important than that.

“The main protection of the mouth guard is for concussions, which is a brain injury.”

He says all mouth guards aren't created equal. Most children in sports get the “boil-and-bite."

“It’s only one millimeter thick,” said Scharff, as he measured it in front of our news crew.

He says the thickness of it, and its protection value, is lost right when it’s made, when the child bites down.

Custom-made mouth guards, on the other hand, aren't made by biting down but from a mold of the child's mouth.

“This is the size I would recommend for a football player,” said Scharff, holding one in his hand. “In that same spot, it's almost 3 mm thick.”

It's the condyle of the jaw that can cause concussions.

If someone is hit in the jaw, their teeth can clack together.

Scharff says a thicker, custom-made mouth guard can absorb most of the impact.

The mouth guard maker hopes coaches at Shelby County Schools consider buying the better option for their players.

However, the price difference might stand in their way: 50 cents compared to more than $100 a piece.

Scharff believes the price is worth the protection.

Shelby County Schools says it doesn't purchase one particular mouth guard for students playing contact sports. Each individual coach decides on what equipment to use.

If you want your child to have a custom-made mouth guard, you might have to buy it for your child yourself.