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Free customized athletic mouth guards at School of Dentistry

ANN ARBOR—The University of Michigan School of Dentistry will offer free, customized athletic mouth guards to elementary, junior high, high school and college students in Washtenaw County. Fittings will be 9 a.m.-noon Oct. 21 at the Mouth Guard Clinic, third floor, School of Dentistry Building.

The impression process takes about 10 minutes once you reach the chair, although there is usually a 30- to 45- minute wait before you can be seated, depending on the crowd. The finished guards will be available for fitting and pickup about two hours after the impressions. No appointments are necessary. Students will be taken "first come, first served," while supplies last. The clinic will be able to make 125 mouth guards.

U-M faculty members, dental students and local dentists will make the protective mouth guards that are required for most student athletes.

"A U-M School of Dentistry study shows that the customized mouth guards are considerably more comfortable than those bought in stores," said William C. Godwin, U-M professor of dentistry and specialist in sports dentistry. "When we surveyed the men's and women's lacrosse teams at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, 34 of 36 players preferred the customized mouth guards made at the clinic to those available in stores. The more comfortable the guards are, the more likely students are to wear them."

The clinic is funded by a grant from Samuel Harris, a U-M dental graduate who practices in Detroit.

For more information, call (313) 764-1559.