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Annual event providing low-cost mouthguards to area athletes

4/4/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

BARBERTON — On April 19, Dr. Todd Barnett is planning a nonprofit event that will provide custom-fitted facial protection to area athletes for $20 apiece.

The third annual Mouthguard Day is being held during National Facial Protection Month, and he hopes the event will help protect the smiles of as many area athletes as possible, he said.

Some sports, such as football, lacrosse and field hockey, tend to require mouthguards be worn, but athletes who participate in soccer, basketball and other contact sports may benefit just as much by wearing them, he said.

The program, which is being held at Barnett’s orthodontic practice in Barberton, is for athletes of all ages.

Participants will receive custom-fitted mouthguards made from models of their own teeth, according to Barnett. Custom-fitted mouthguards are of a higher quality than the stock and “boil and bite” varieties that can be purchased at sporting goods stores, he said.

The $20 fee covers the cost of materials and labor, he added. Generally, a custom-fitted mouthguard costs between $40 and $90, he said.

Barnett said a big part of the challenge in getting young athletes to wear the athletic gear is overcoming the stigma.

“If they’re all wearing one, it’s so much more acceptable,” he added. “It’s changing the mindset of kids that’s the hardest part.”

His office sees injuries every year from children who have a tooth knocked out or displaced during sports, he said.

For people who have had orthodontic work, wearing a mouthguard while playing sports can be a way of protecting their investment.

“All that money, time, effort and sometimes confidence they had can be shattered” when a smile is not adequately protected during athletic activities, he added.

The Mouthguard Day program is still in its infancy, he said.

The future vision for the program is to recruit other area dentists and orthodontists to create a larger cooperative effort to make the highest quality mouthguards available to every Akron area athlete, he added.

The ones ordered April 19 will be made at Barnett’s office and ready within a few weeks, he added.

The mouthguards will be clear, and young people like them because they can talk with them, according to Donna Koster, Barnett Orthodontics’ office manager.

Also, people generally don’t mind wearing them because they are easy to wear and easy to handle, she said.

Appointments for impressions for the mouthguards are available between 1 and 5 p.m. April 19, and the deadline to schedule an appointment is April 11. To schedule an appointment or for more information, call 330-755-4497.

Barnett Orthodontics is located at 86 Conservatory Drive in Suite A in Barberton.

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