Guarding against broken teeth

TO coincide with Ireland’s first National Orthodontic Week from April 11-15, a local othodontics surgery is giving free mouth guards to local first-year students in the hope of preventing mouth injuries and broken teeth.

TO coincide with Ireland’s first National Orthodontic Week from April 11-15, a local othodontics surgery is giving free mouth guards to local first-year students in the hope of preventing mouth injuries and broken teeth.

Dr Ian Fitzgerald of Castle Orthodontics has visited five Kilkenny secondary schools so far, plus others in Carlow and one in Laois, to talk to first-year students about the importance of wearing mouth guards while playing sports.

With permission from the school principals, the orthodondist has offered free sports mouth guards to the first-year students.

“We see so many injuries, and they are so easily prevented,” he said. “In rugby it is compulsory but in the GAA it isn’t, and that is something I am working on.” Dr Fitzgerald encountered one school where nearly all of the students wore mouth guards while playing sports, but said that in many schools the rate is about 15-20%.

“A split second and your front teeth are gone,” he said, adding that wearing mouth guards could also “cut down hugely on insurance payments”.

“I would love the GAA to look at it, because it would reduce their premiums massively,” he said.

What sparked the idea for his surgery was treating people who had had their teeth straightened – at a cost to their parents – only to have teeth knocked out while playing sports. “And it could have been prevented,” he said.