Preventing Traumatic Oral Injuries in Sports
Some of the most common injuries sustained during participation in sports are oral in nature. In fact, 13–39 % of all oral-facial traumas are caused during participation in sports. However, dental emergencies during sports can be easily prevented by adopting certain protective measures like mouth guards and face cages. Mouth Guards Close to 80% of dental traumas affect one or more of the front teeth and may cause damage to soft tissues such as the lips, tongue and inner cheeks. By using mouth guards, you can prevent broken and knocked-out teeth, cuts on the lips and tongue, damage to the inner cheeks, as well as injuries to the jaws. In fact, research has shown that most dental injuries during sports occurred when athletes were not wearing mouth guards. When mouth guards were made mandatory in football games, it is estimated to have prevented about 200,000 tooth traumas in one year! If you are involved sports like basketball, soccer, football, karate, softball, baseball, hockey, skateboarding and gymnastics, make sure you wear a mouth guard when you are actively playing. Your dentist can even fit you with a custom-made mouth guard. This is the best option since it usually fits your mouth perfectly. However, if you are concerned about the cost and do not want a knocked-out tooth, you may choose to buy a stock mouth guard or a boil-and-bite mouth guard from a sporting-goods store. Helmets If you are participating in a sport that involves high speed or sudden impact, such as hockey, cycling or skating, it is wise to wear a helmet. Even though not all helmets will protect your teeth and mouth from injuries, they will protect your head and guard against concussions. Face Cages Face cages protect you from oral-facial injuries during high-risk sports. If you are a baseball catcher or a hockey player, you will be required to wear one. Dental emergencies during sports are not uncommon. However, sometimes even seemingly minor sport dental emergencies have been known to cause extensive damage. It is also true that almost all injuries to your teeth can be treated successfully today, thanks to the advancements in dental technology. Nevertheless, oral-facial trauma can be painful and they can have a recovery time, so it’s best to protect yourself first and foremost!