Giants Foundation Grant Allows UMDNJ Dentists to
Create Customized Mouthguards for High School Athletes
NEWARK — High school athletes in Essex County will receive free custom-made mouthguards as a result of a grant from the Giants Foundation to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. On Thurs., Dec. 6, Fri., Dec. 7, and Thurs., Dec. 13, at 3 p.m., dentists from the UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School will visit Science Park High School to create oral impressions for the boys and girls basketball teams. The school is located at 260 Norfolk Street, Newark.
The Giants Foundation provided $15,000 to the Foundation of UMDNJ to support the Mouthguard Protection Program for Inner City High School Athletes, which is being coordinated by two dentists at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School. Approximately 200 youth will have an opportunity to receive a free oral examination, customized mouthguard and a free carrying case bearing the N.Y. Giants logo. The purpose of the program is to eliminate and decrease the severity of mouth and jaw injuries.
“The American Dental Association estimates that mouthguards prevent approximately 200,000 injuries each year in high school and collegiate football alone,” said Allison Stangeby of The Giants Foundation. “Because we believe that the youth of today represent our community’s future, we are delighted to be able to support such a worthwhile program for high school students in Newark.”
Dr. Rebecca Reed, an assistant professor at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School, is a dentist who has treated teenage patients for sports-related mouth injuries and missing teeth. This preventive program was developed to protect youth from the trauma that could be caused by an elbow or another form of physical contact while playing sports.
“Dental injuries are the most common type of facial injury sustained while participating in sporting activities,” said Dr. Reed. “When teeth are not properly preserved or replanted young athletes may face dental costs that exceed $15,000 per tooth. A lack of proper oral health care following a mouth or jaw injury could develop into other dental problems such as periodontal disease. The treatment cost of a single-knocked out tooth is 20 times more than the preventive cost of a customized mouthguard.”
According to American Dental Association, an athlete who does not wear a mouthguard is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth. Mouthguards acts as a barrier and provides a cushion between the upper and lower jaws. Mouthguards help to buffer the impact of a collision that could cause broken teeth, jaw injuries or cuts to the lip, tongue or face. Mouthguards may also reduce the rate and severity of concussions.
After school, instead of practicing for their first game, the boys and girls basketball teams at Science Park High School will be fitted for customized mouthguards by Dr. Reed and Dr. Rosa Chaviano-Moran, a dentist and assistant professor at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School. Several dental students will assist and emphasize the importance of oral health care and the appropriate use of mouthguards. Students will also receive a pre- and post-test to assess the athlete’s understanding regarding the use and proper maintenance of a mouthguard.
“A custom-made mouthguard offers the highest protection available for our athletes today. We are grateful for the support that The Giants Foundation has provided to promote good oral health and protect our young athletes,” Dr. Chaviano-Moran said.
The oral impressions, which are made of a seaweed-based product called alginate, will be taken to the UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School where mouthguards will be created in the high school team’s colors. On Thurs., Dec. 13, at 3 p.m., the day before the first basketball game, the dentists will return to Science Park High School during practice to deliver the mouthguards.
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is the nation’s largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,700 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and a school of public health on five campuses. Annually, there are more than two million patient visits at UMDNJ facilities and faculty practices at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a statewide mental health and addiction services network.