Sports and Dentistry Don’t Mix: Protect Your Face and Mouth!
As the new sports season ramps up, don’t forget that active fun comes with the risk of mouth and face trauma. Whether from falls during play or from being struck in the face, there are plenty of ways to get hurt. Especially for children, facial or dental injuries often come from sports and the shoddy protection. There’s no reason to give up the many benefits of sports, however. Here are some tips to keep athletes out there playing, while avoiding trauma.
This is the number one way to protect teeth, jaws, and even athletes’ brains. Mouth guards obviously act as a teeth protector in sports by cushioning teeth from slamming into each other when there is a blow to the face, preventing teeth from getting chipped or knocked out. However, the benefits of mouth guards go beyond that. By keeping the teeth apart, they can help prevent soft tissue injury from biting the tongue or cheek. The cushion of a mouth guard also helps reduce the risk of jaw fracture. Mouth guards even reduce the risk of concussion by preventing the lower jaw from transferring impact to the upper jaw, and then to the brain. Using a mouthguard as a teeth protector in sports prevents the need for restorative dentistry and other oral and maxillofacial surgery.
It should be noted that custom mouthguards from your dentist are the most effective at preventing injury, and they are almost always more comfortable to wear. Particularly with children, a comfortable mouth guard makes it more likely they will wear it. Any mouth guard is better than none, though.
Athletes run the risk of injuries to more than their teeth and jaws. The nose, the bony orbits around eyes, and skin are all vulnerable to impact during sports. A helmet that is designed for your sport, especially one with a face guard, is an excellent way to protect all these structures as well. Make sure that it’s the right helmet for your sport, though. A football helmet is indispensable for playing football but is far too heavy for someone riding a bike. Sports dentistry expands beyond just teeth so using a protector for your face and jaw is also vital for safety in sports.
Prioritize Safe Play
A coach’s attitude toward safety goes a long way to foster good habits, especially for children. A coach can insist on the use of mouth guards, and they also should be aware of basic safety issues, such as playing on appropriately cushioned surfaces. For example, fields that have grass are safer than dirt fields. Any goal posts and poles on or around the field should be padded.
Parents are vital to enforcing good practices, by insisting on appropriate safety measures and protective gear, especially for solo sports. Also, don’t forget that if you are a parent and you take care to protect yourself from injury you are also providing your child with a good example.
Have a Plan if Injury Occurs
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, accidents happen. Although people often go to the emergency room for these injuries, many dental injuries from sports can be treated in our office with our advanced sports dentistry capabilities. Not only does that save patients from a trip to the emergency room, it ensures expert specialized care. Doctors who are skilled in the treatment of facial and dental trauma can offer interventions that emergency room medical staff may not be able to.
If you or a loved one has a serious dental or facial injury, it’s important to be able to turn to professionals you can trust. Peak OMS surgeons are uniquely qualified to understand and repair these injuries. Our expertise allows us to offer the best care possible. We have 3-D CT imaging, which is a superior diagnostic tool for identifying dental and facial injuries. We also offer a range of sedation techniques to help people of all ages have a safe and comfortable treatment experience.
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