Athletes who will participate in sports this fall and winter can have a free, customized mouth guard made for them during the School of Dentistry’s annual Mouth Guard Clinic on July 27.

Athletes ages 5 and older, including those who wear braces, are invited to be fitted for a mouth guard. The device helps protect an athlete’s teeth and mouth from injuries due to sports contact.

Dental and dental hygiene students, supervised by clinical faculty members, will make mouth guards for the first 120 athletes who register on a first-come, first-served basis.

Registration is from 8-10:30 a.m. on the second floor of the School of Dentistry, 1011 N. University Ave. A parent or guardian must accompany children younger than 18 years. The fitting procedure takes approximately one hour. The mouth guards come in a variety of colors.

Kenneth May, associate professor of dentistry, said mouth guards are “must-have” equipment for those playing any sport where there is physical contact to the head or body, including falls and the possibility of concussions.

“Several decades ago, our faculty at the School of Dentistry pioneered the creation of comfortable, effective mouth guards that were individually fit to each athlete,” May said. “Mouth guards were soon being used around the state and then around the country and the world.

“We make sure they fit comfortably and most athletes quickly adjust to wearing them. They just make sense, and we encourage local athletes and their parents to attend our clinic.”

Joe Samona, a fourth-year dental student who is lead organizer of the clinic, encouraged parents from across the area to consider bringing their children in for mouth guards.

“The clinic is important because protecting a child’s teeth is important,” he said. “And also, we do this as a community service so it’s free. Adults who play sports are welcome, too.”

Mouth guard clinic participants can park for free in the Fletcher Street parking structure on the north side of the School of Dentistry. When arriving at the Fletcher Street parking entrance, take the “Up” ramp to the upper-level patient parking area.

Because of construction at the dental school, patients should exit the parking structure elevator on Level 5 and follow the signs to the school entrance and the Mouth Guard Clinic.

For more information about the Mouth Guard Clinic, call 616-606-3052.

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