Dr. Walter Chitwood from Implant Dentistry Is the onsite dentist for MTSU and the US Olympic team. Dr. Chitwood has been working on a new mouth guard over the past couple of years that he thinks can cut back on the number of concussion injuries.
After the tragic incident with Siegel High School player, Baylor Bramble, Chitwood thinks it is important to spread the word about his mouthguard. Last season Bramble got a concussion fourth quarter in a football game and was rushed to Vanderbilt. What started out as a headache turned into severe brain damage. After months of surgery, Bramble is now at the Shepherd Center on a breathing cap, where he is working on non-verbal communication.
Dr. Chitwood says, “The reason so many of these concussions happen is because the mouthguards players use don’t extend back to the molar areas of their jaw”. The molar area is what separates your lower jaw from your skull. The mouthguards he created are made to extend over your last molar which creates more space between your lower and upper jaw. The mouthguards add about 3 extra millimeters of space between the jaw and skull meaning that when you have an impact, it is less likely that your bottom jaw will impact your temporal lobe, which causes concussions.
Dr.Chitwood currently has more then a dozen MTSU football players wearing his mouthguards, along with Siegel football and basketball players. From this study he has done with the players only one has had a concussion. MTSU Athletic Trainer, Keith Bunch, says that player has had a history of concussion and he thinks that the mouthguard has helped him from getting worse injuries.
Dr. Chitwood says, “Preventing potentially a concussion that can be life changing, whats that worth? The cost of it`s a lot less then a pair of cleats that you would buy to perform in”.
If you want to get fitted for one Dr. Chitwood`s mouthguards you can call Implant Dentistry at (615) 893-8771.