Northshore Dentist Fits Saints Players With Special Mouthguards
Last September, Dr. Moreau was invited, along with six other general dentists from New Jersey to Miami, to join the New Orleans Saints at their practice facility for a two-day workshop.
But instead of working on skilled positions as you might expect of a group of NFL players, this group was focusing on jaw positions. The doctors, all trained in neuromuscular dentistry, were there to help fit Saints players with Pure Power Mouthguards (PPMs).
The custom mouthguards are based on neuromuscular dentistry techniques originally developed to help patients who have jaw joint, or TMJ, disorders. PPM’s have been shown to improve athletes’ strength, balance and range of motion. Proponents of the PPMs include the likes of NBA player Shaquille O’Neal and golfer Scott McCarron. The New Orleans Saints are the first NFL team to be fitted.
On Monday and Tuesday, September 21st and 22nd, Dr. Moreau and his colleagues used advanced computer technology to expertly fit about 35 Saints players for the mouthguards. The process involved using tiny electrical pulses to relax neck and facial muscles and flush out toxins. The computers then tracked jaw movement to the millimeter to find the ideal jaw position for each individual. That position was captured in dental impressions which were used as the basis for a final laminate mouthpiece precision-fitted to guide each player into ideal jaw position.
By 10 o’clock that Tuesday night, Dr. Anil Makkar, founder and president of the PPM company, Makkar Advantage (www.makkaradvantage.com), was already back in his lab in Canada fabricating the mouthguards. Three days later, the black and gold PPMs were flown back to New Orleans for delivery to the Saints players by Dr. Moreau.
“Of course any athlete achieves his or her goals through and because of talent, hard work, and character,” Dr. Moreau said. “The technology behind the PPM helps the individual perform at a higher level.” He believes at every position, improved performance is possible by having better balance, better peripheral vision through increased flexibility, and more strength and stability.
“It’s been fun to watch the players on TV to spot the ones who are wearing their PPMs,” Dr.Moreau said, “and then read the paper to see what the sportswriters are saying about those players’ performances. They’re making plays and they’re ready when the opportunities present for them to step up and make a difference.”
Former NFL coach and ESPN analyst John Gruden mentioned the PPM’s on Monday Night Football when the Saints defeated the Atlanta Falcons. He was also quoted in a Los Angeles Times article about the mouthguards stating that football is “a game of inches” and every advantage a player can get is important.
The PPM works by relaxing the large number of muscles and nerves that translate from the lower one third of the face to the brain and spine. This eliminates interference of signals because the jaw is locked into this ideal position and allows uninhibited flow from the brain throughout the body. When the jaw is in a stable bite position, the spine aligns better down to the hips and they fall into alignment as well.
“A good example is to think of a stack of building blocks stacked straight up with a 13 pound ball trying to balance on top, ” Dr. Moreau said. “The blocks will shift and sway under the weight of the ball to keep it balanced. Like the ball, when the head and neck are stabilized, then everything else is able to fall into proper alignment and support.”
The PPMs are not just for professional athletes. An entry-level orthotic is geared more for high school athletes and weekend or recreational competitors. The high-tech device is predictably more expensive, making it more feasible for college and professional competitors. However, any individual who takes their sport seriously can benefit from using a Pure Power Mouthguard.
Dr. Moreau is a general dentist who has practiced on New Orleans’ Northshore since 1981. He is one of only about 300 dentists worldwide who are PPM certified. He has provided neuromuscular dentistry to the New Orleans area for the past decade.