NFL Concussion: Bring Your Mouth Guard

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NFL Concussion: Bring Your Mouth Guard
(Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

Photo: Dr. Gerald Maher

Gerald J. Maher, DMD, has served as the New England Patriots team dentist since 1979, a position he got after working with boxer Marvin Hagler.

With the help of research from Dr. Jack Stenger at the University of Notre Dame, his company Mahercor Laboratories LLC developed The Maher Mouth Guard, a mechanism that is said to aid in the prevention of concussions for all athletes playing in contact sports.

The company has been working with the National Hockey League, a sport in which concussions have become all too common, and this type of oral appliance also can benefit soldiers. He recently spoke to a group of Pop Warner players and parents, and stressed the importance of avoiding the OTC mouth guards.

“Because the models off the shelf fit so poorly, the players don’t wear them or they chew on them and distort them,” said Dr. Maher, whose company works with the Appliance Therapy Group in manufacturing the custom mouth guards. “TMJ is my area of expertise and we have designed a mouth guard to cut down the incidence of concussions.”

Mark Picot, Executive Vice President of Mahercor Laboratories, LLC, describes the Maher Mouth Guard as more of a “medical device” than a mouth guard, noting that other versions available do not address the creation of a more stable relationship between the jaw and skull at the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which better enables athletes to dissipate the force that comes from a hard blow to the chin area.

He adds that a recent peer-reviewed publication in Dental Traumatology should help teams and athletes become more aware of the link between violent blows to the jaw area and concussions, and how a TMJ device such as the Maher Mouth Guard can place teeth in a better position to withstand such violent blows.

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