Young Prosper athletes who had a free custom mouth guard fitting during Roberts Dental Ranch fifth annual Mouth Guard Day can now pick up their pieces. This is the second community event hosted by Dr. John Roberts and his wife Dr. Raenie Roberts during the year. John Roberts said as a child he played football himself, and was looking for a community service project to do in the summer. At the beginning of the year the dentistry does Tooth Talks.

“It grows every year,” he said. “I think every year we’ve done 100 more than the previous year. … Last Friday we had 203 and last year we did 326. So we’re already over half and we have one more day so if we do 200 we’ll go over 400 this year.”

Roberts said its important for children to have properly fitting mouth guards, otherwise the discomfort may result in many children not wearing the pieces.

“They’ll just sit around and chew on them, versus if it fits good they’ll like it and want to wear it,” he said. “They can breathe better with a good fitting mouth guard vs. one that’s a little bulky. It makes it hard to breathe. And then you want to make sure it protects the right teeth.”

Roberts said the bulk of the children he sees during Mouth Guard Days are between the ages of 6 and 12. When working with children, he said, it’s important to remember that they’re still growing.

“When you’re in the NFL you have your permanent teeth, but for kids they’re growing, and we have some (teeth) that are falling out, some that are coming in, so we have to add some stone for growth to prepare for the upcoming season,” Roberts said.

The first Mouth Guard Day was held July 14 and the second was held July 21. The Dental Ranch provided hot dogs, games and T-shirts, and welcomed walk-ins for the children to get their custom fitting. The pieces themselves take about an hour to make and cost about $100 normally. During Mouth Guard Days, these custom pieces are free.

Roberts said that so far people have been pleased with the event.

“They like their mouth guards,” he said. “… It’s just a good thing to keep us giving back to the community.”

Prosper Press Managing Editor Miranda Wilcox contributed to this story.