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The Whole Tooth and Nothing But ...

By Ed de la Vega, DDS

02 Oct 2012

Okay, you may start bashing me now for writing “another mouthguard story”. I must tell you however that you can do that until kingdom come but I am not stopping my crusade about mouthguards until the day I see all athletes in contact sports well protected from unnecessary intra-oral injuries associated with sports.

That may be a tall order and may not happen in my lifetime, but I have to keep trying.

So go ahead. Do your thing for here I am with another mouthguard story.

Another incident where a poorly fitted mouthguard was again on the spotlights occurred at the MGM Resorts at Foxwood in Connecticut and on live HBO TV over the weekend.

Unfortunately, checking internet postings nothing was mentioned about the mouthguard that kept on falling.

I guess it’s not an important issue to most writers. But that is understandable given the fact that not too many writer are dentists.

The fight involved two undefeated boxers Edwin Rodriguez (22-0-0,15KO) and Jason Escalera (13-1-1,12KO).

Fortunately, the boxer (Escalera) who used the ill fitting mouthguard did not suffer major injury because of it. But I was certain the very poor quality of his mouthguard made the fight more difficult for him. In fact he was bleeding from the mouth only after round 1 was over.

It could also be possible that the distraction created by the ill- fitting mouthguard contributed to his loss although I can’t prove that.

Just how bad was Escalera’s mouthguard?

It was so bad that the HBO commentators indicated that he dropped it in the first 3 seconds of the fight.

First three seconds? Darn!

Dropping the mouthguard is a common trick used by boxers when they get groggy. Dropping it allows them to buy time. It is an illegal practice but many times, they get away with it.

The few seconds it takes the referee to stop the fight to pick it up, get it washed by the cornerman and replaced in the boxer’s mouth are sometimes enough for boxers to regain their wind.

Escalera dropped his mouthguard 4 times during the fight. However, I do not think it was because of being groggy.

The darn mouthguard just did not fit and it probably was more comfortable just to drop it so he can concentrate on the fight.

As Harold Lederman of the HBO said, “he is wearing a lousy mouthguard.”

The referee Steve Smoger finally was so frustrated by Escalera dropping his mouthguard that he finally warned Escalera and his corner that if the mouthguard drops again, he will deduct a point.

Fortunately, he did not have to do that as the fight stopped at 0:12 of round eight.

Edwin Rodriguez thus won the fight via TKO.

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