THE AHAS MOUTHGUARD: IT’S NOT JUST A PIECE OF PLASTIC!
By Ed de la Vega, DDS; Philboxing.com
A couple of the many traits of a champion are focus and attention to details.
Three divisions and longest reigning Filipino boxing world champion, Donnie “Ahas” Nietes (40-1-4, 22KO) of Murcia, Negros Occidental certainly exhibits these.
When Nietes arrived in Los Angeles to intensely prepare for his IBF Flyweight title defense against Juan Carlos Reveco (39-3-0, 19KO) of Argentina, the first order of his training regimen was to visit our dental offices so we can custom design, fabricate and fit him a new mouthguard. That is focus and attention to details!
Not too many of our Filipino boxers do that. In fact, some call us on the last minute and request a new mouthguard as if we simply pull them out of a drawer. That tells us, their level of understanding of the true value of a proper mouthguard. And, some even tell us to come to their training site to take the impressions for the mouthguard! They don’t want to bother travel the few short miles from LA to our office site at West San Fernando Valley.
Without exception, Nietes was different from of all the others- from world champions to the newbies we had at our offices. From the very start, he understands the importance of our product as he has been using them for many years. And, more importantly, he is respectful of our skills, thus he uses our mouthguards all the time.
Together with his trainers, the Villamor brothers, Edito and Edmund, Nietes came to our offices courtesy of his “friendly Uber driver”, Jhay Otamias of Torrance, California. With that, we were able to take impressions that allowed us to initiate the design and fabrication of his mouthguard.
True to what many has consistently said about Nietes, the Filipino world champion is humble to the core! When we asked him how he likes to see his new mouthguard, he simply replied – “Yung simple lang. Sana isang kulay na purple and my nickname in front”. (A simple one-color mouthguard with my nickname written at the front) We could have easily designed a fancy multicolored mouthguard for him with all the bells and whistles, but that is not the preference of the champion.
Like all of the mouthguards we design and fabricate, the new Nietes mouthguard follows all the parameters of what a mouthguard should be – from the use of the proper materials to its design and fit. It conforms to all the specifications and recommendations suggested by Academy for Sports Dentistry and the American Dental Association. It has specific thickness and reinforcements in areas where forces of impact are most expected. The correct peripheral extensions and occlusions make it comfortable to wear and the fit is immaculate. It will never come out in the heat of combat. Of course, in this particular case, it also has the requested purple color.
In short, it’s just not a piece of plastic that is placed in the mouth with the hope that it will protect the teeth and surrounding oral structures of the athlete.
It is an art in its true sense and an awesome protective device.