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The Star of Winter Olympics 2022 - Eileen Gu, and Her Invisible Aligners in Games

It is believed that Eileen Gu will be the most popular and successful athlete this year. Her sassy, attractive movements, and outstanding skills had become the brightest spotlight throughout the game. 

On February 15th, she ended the Women’s Freestyle Skiing in Winter Olympics with a gold medal. That was her second gold in Winter Olympics 2022, in which had summed up her marvelous results with 2 gold and 1 silver medals.

Looking back to the freestyle skiing game on February 8th, Eileen Gu had made her first attempt to perform an extremely challengeable jump during her turn. To everyone’s surprise, that movement had granted her the champion miraculously.

During the game, some netizens had noticed the invisible braces hanging in front of her chest. 

In fact, that’s a mouthguard. It is an elastic device that provides cover to teeth, gums, and alveolar bone. It separated the upper teeth from the lower ones and shieled the skin tissues on both cheeks. Hence, it’s a protective braces that can transmit energy and split it equally in an individual’s mouth. 

Other than protecting the teeth from a series of dental trauma, a mouth guard can reduce the impulsive force. It is generally common in extreme sports, such as basketball, boxing, and rugby. 

Therefore, NBA fans are usually more familiar with a mouthguard.

Stephen Curry from Golden State Warriors has the habit of biting his mouthguard every time during every penalty. This tiny action has also become his very extraordinary, representative feature. 

During an interview, he talked about the reason he always had his mouthguard on. Back then, when he was still in the university, someone accidentally knocked on his mouth with an elbow during a basketball game. He wasn’t wearing any protective or sport braces at the moment, so lips eversion happened. Since then, he started to wear a mouthguard in every game.

Looking back, similar accidents had happened in a previous NBA match before. During a match between Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets on 19th December 2009, Dirk Nowitzki accidentally hit Carl Landy’s mouth with his right elbow.

Landy immediately collapsed on the ground straight after. Five of his teeth had dropped as he was not wearing a mouthguard. What was worse was that two of them were even left in Norwitzki’s elbow.

With that, the NBA players had started to aware of the importance of protecting their mouths. Since then, they began to use a various type of mouthguards during their games.

A mouthguard is different from the normal braces we’ve seen in everyday lives. It’s known as a protective braces that protects the athletes’ teeth and brain from injury. 

Meanwhile, as these exercises become more common in our society, the majority has started practicing the habit of using mouthguards during sports. 

Based on a survey, 15.4% of dental traumas are caused by injury during sports. 50% of the patients who suffer from dental traumas in sports have the age ranging between 20 to 40 years old. The gender ratio for male to female is 7:1. 

Moreover, schools and clubs has provided more and more physical activities for our youngsters now. They should always try their best to wear their mouthguards when attending those activities. Otherwise, incisor dislocation, broken teeth, and more serious situations may occur.

Generally, there are four different types of broken teeth: cracks without affecting the crown of the tooth, cracks that run through the crown of the tooth and reach to the gum line, fractured cusps, and vertical root fractures.

With that, what should we do if these situations happen?

For cracks with unaffected crowns, teenagers and adults can consider refilling the broken parts with resin. As for the children and elderly, glass ionomer will be the most common material used for tooth filling. 

For cracks with affected crowns, porcelain veneers could be useful. However, once the gums are exposed, the situation will be more troublesome. Patients without pulpitis can undergo marrow filling directly. Unfortunately, if the patients are suffering from pulpitis, they should undergo root canal treatments to remove their dental nerves before wearing a porcelain teeth crown to protect their original teeth. 

Once root fractures happen, the patients should go and see a professional doctor immediately. Doctors will provide advise on whether they should keep the roots. If the roots could be kept, artificial cores will be inserted into their roots after root canal treatments, and denture restorations can only be proceeded after that.

If a temporary tooth (milk tooth) is broken, you don’t have to worry much about it. However, if the affected tooth is a permanent tooth, the subsequent repairs needed are extremely troublesome. Other than undergoing different treatments, the patients have to spend a lot of money and energy in the process.

In conclusion, we should pay more attention to the usage of mouthguards. Prevention is better than cure – it is, indeed, important to take precautions in our daily lives before everything is too late.



Tay Cheng Ean


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