Local business protects Panther, Guard athletes with custom-made mouth guards

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A Bullard business is working to accomplish its mission of giving back to the community by ensuring the safety of local sports teams on the field of play this season.

Bullard Family Dentistry, owned and operated by Dr. J. Brandon Allen, opened its doors in August 2014 and made it the business’s mission to support the Bullard community in its dental needs.

Over the past few years, the dentist office has been involved with the safety of players on the Bullard Panther and Brook Hill Guard varsity football teams by donating their time, efforts, and materials to create custom-fitting mouth guards.

“Everyone here at Bullard Family Dentistry love the Bullard community and want to give back in any way that we can,” said Candice Denison, associate dentist at Bullard Family Dentistry. “Especially with children, we want to protect them as much as possible because we’d rather see them play and have fun rather than to see them in our chairs because of a dental emergency.”

The free custom-made mouth guards for the Panthers and the Guard began at the start of the 2015 football season and have grown in popularity amongst the teams each year.

“Since 2015, we’ve offered both Bullard and Brook Hill football teams the opportunity to come in and have a custom-fitted mouth guard made,” said Denison. “The response of the program has been very good for both us and the teams, in terms of how many we’ve given away as well as protection. When they play in their first game, they can definitely look fierce in their colors and make sure their mouths are safe.”

During this year’s program, Bullard Family Dentistry was able to make and distribute approximately 60 mouth guards to the local athletes.

“We love our athletes and want them to be safe,” said Denison. “In a sport like football, it’s very important to make sure the mouth and the teeth are protected; it’s a head-on sport, literally, and we want to make sure no one gets hurt and have to fix their teeth later on.”

According to Denison, the process in making the custom-made mouth guards begins when dental workers fit the players with an impression tray, making sure the tray fits perfectly in the player’s mouth. Then, the impression tray is filled with alignate, a powdery substance that makes a molding material once mixed with water, and inserted back in the mouth in order to make a teeth mold which sets in approximately one minute.

After the mold is created, it is placed in a cleaning solution and mixed with a stone mixture similar to sand, then placed on a vibrator to make sure there are no inconsistencies for about 30-40 minutes. The stone material is removed from the mold and then trimmed and dried.

A heating element is then use to put three millimeters of colored thermoplastic material, with red representing Bullard and orange representing Brook Hill, and air compressed to the mold.

“It’s really a fun process to see happen,” said Denison. “Once the models are dried, it really only takes about five minutes for the mouth guard to be finished.”

According to Denison, the program has been successful based on the number of mouth guards made per season.

“They keep coming back, so I’d say it’s been a successful campaign,” said Denison. “We always see them being used on the field during the games. Some of the kids do have braces and teeth do shift, as well, so we tell the players that if they have any problems to come back and we’ll be happy to address the problem and protect them. So far, the responses have been very positive; the coaches have been very receptive to it, taking time out of their schedules to bring the players to our offices.”

Denison said the time, effort, and material cost of making the mouth guard for the teams each year fails in comparison to knowing their mouths are safe from injury.

“This program really gives us peace of mind,” said Denison. “We love teeth and want everyone to keep their teeth as long as possible, preferably for the rest of their lives. Dr. Allen and I want to serve the community and give back as much as possible. We love having connections with the local schools and the community. Yes, it’s our time, equipment, and materials, but that’s minimal to knowing in our hearts that we are protecting the players; it’s definitely worth the cost in order to avoid the pain and trauma of players participating in a sport like football without the mouth guards. We don’t want teenagers in here with cracked teeth.”

Allen graduated from The Colony High School, Baylor University, and Baylor College of Dentistry. In 2012, Dr. Allen received his Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry, a prestigious award given to those who complete 500 hours of continuing education, pass the exam, and attend several dental conventions.

Originally from Wichita Falls, Denison received her undergraduate degree in accounting from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark. Denison went on to pursue her dental career at the University of Texas Dental School in Houston, where she was honored with the Outstanding Achievement in Periodontics award and the Excellence in Prosthodontics Award.

Denison is a member of the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, Smith County Dental Society and Greater Houston Dental Society.

Bullard Family Dentistry is located at 125 E. Main St. To set up an appointment at the office between 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, call (903) 710-2309 or visit www.bullardfamilydentist.com.

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