Boxers’ Teeth Get A Fighting Chance
by Ariela Martin | Sep 10, 2012 11:03 am
Tyler Peters placed in his new mouth guard, customized with the red and black colors of Elephant in a Room boxing gym, embossed with his name. It was a perfect fit.
Peters (pictured) boxes at Elephant In The Room, a not-for-profit neighborhood gym opened in the Dixwell neighborhood this past January.
His free mouthguard came as a result of a meet-up not in a boxing ring, but in the dentist’s office: Between Devonne Canady, a former double world champion boxer who created Elephant In The Room; and her dentist, Michael Wiener.
Canady and Wiener (pictured) started talking when Canady was receiving dental work a few months ago. Like Canady, Wiener is also a dedicated athlete—he wrestled in college and is a cyclist and former competitive amateur weightlifter. He also makes it a mission to help people, regardless of income or insurance, obtain routine dental care. (Click here to read about that. Click here and here to read more about Elephant in the Room.)
Canady invited Wiener to the gym, where he saw firsthand how dangerous boxing can be without proper mouth and teeth protection. Not all the boxers had mouth guards. Others had inadequate mouth guards. Wiener returned to Elephant In The Room to make molds of the teeth for the first eight boxers, where he then sent them to a company to get them custom-made.
Wiener’s practice paid for the mouth guards at no cost to the boxers or to the gym. “It’s not cheap to get a customized mouthpiece made at the dentist’s office,” Canady said. “Most of the kids would have never been able to afford these mouth guards, so we really appreciate that. The mouth guard is imperative—it protects your teeth, gums, and jaw so it’s really important to prevent those injuries with proper protection.”
In a few weeks, Wiener returned with goody bags. Inside were the impressions of the teeth with the mouth guard in a new case. The case had the boxer’s name on it in order to prevent from losing or getting them mixed up. The boxer’s name was also embossed in the inner lining of the mouth guard. Both Peters, his brother, and dad were all impressed with the mouth guards. Peters smiled with his guard in place. “This thing is awesome!” he said. As family members departed from the boxing gym, they all thanked Wiener for his generosity.
Wiener said he plans to continue making mouth guards for the remaining boxers, and to expand the program.