Native New Mexican and martial artist Delano Romero discovered the deficiencies of standard over-the-counter mouthguards after fracturing his front teeth in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu sparring match. This unfortunate accident was Romero’s inspiration for starting a business to develop a superior mouthguard, which he achieved with assistance from NMSBA.
Most mouthguards are bulky, uncomfortable, and inhibit comfortable breathing. Consequently, many martial artists and other athletes do not wear them. With the support of his wife, Dr. Vesna Delic DDS, Romero began to research how custom mouthguards could be better and more widely used. In his initial investigation, he found few industry standards for mouthguards and hypothesized that thicker would be stronger and more shock absorptive.
Romero came to NMSBA with two initial questions: What is the best material for shock absorption, and, ideally, how thick should a mouthguard ideally be? James McElhanon, an organic chemist at Sandia National Laboratories, tested and analyzed a variety of materials for potential use. McElhanon helped Romero identify both the best material and its ideal thickness. “As a result of working with NMSBA, Albuquerque Delicate Dentistry now makes custom-fit mouthguards that are lightweight, strong, shock absorptive, and even customizable with color and design,” says Romero. Someday soon, Romero hopes to expand his product line into commercially available, over-the-counter mouthguards and other protective gear.