Understanding Dentistry and Sports

The ultimate goal in sports is not just to win but to win without any injury. Adequate preparation and training are key elements in minimizing or preventing injuries in sports. Popularly known as sports dentistry, this field aims to prevent and provide treatment to oral/facial trauma that may occur during sporting activities.

Several ways to prevent oral/facial trauma include:
• Teaching the right skills, including tackling technique
• Buying the right sports equipment
• Regular maintenance of sports equipment
• Providing safe playing areas
• Wearing of properly fitted sports protective equipment such as mouth guards

  Facts from the National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety, from the American Dental Association and the California Dental Association

  • Dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial injury sustained during participation in sports; the majority of these dental injuries are preventable.
  • An athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to the teeth when not wearing a protective mouthguard.
  • The cost of a fractured tooth is many times greater than the cost of a dentist diagnosed and designed professionally made mouthguard.
  • Every athlete involved in contact sport has about a 10% chance per season of an orofacial injury, or a 33-56% chance during an athletic career.
  • The cost to replant a tooth and the follow-up dental treatment is about $5000.
  • Victims of knocked out teeth who do not have a tooth properly preserved or replanted may face lifetime dental costs of $15,000-$20,000/tooth, hours in the dental chair, and the possible development of other dental problems such as periodontal disease.
  • It is estimated that faceguards and mouthguards prevent approximately 200,000 injuries each year in high school and college football.
  • The stock mouthguard which is bought at sports stores without any individual fitting, provide only a low level of protection, if any. If the wearer is rendered unconscious, there is a risk the mouthguard may lodge in the throat potentially causing an airway obstruction.
  • A properly fitted mouthguard reduces the chances of sustaining a concussion from a blow to the jaw.
  • Mouthguards should be worn at all times during competition; in practice as well as in games.
  • The American Dental Association recommends wearing custom mouthguards for the following sports: acrobats, basketball, boxing, field Hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, wrestling.

SmilePlus Dentistry provides custom fitted mouth guards and treatment of most common sports dental injuries.Please call our office at 510-796-1656  if you have further questions related to this topic.

One thought on “Understanding Dentistry and Sports

  1. Very interesting… I see all atheletes in basketball wearing these, and did not know how important it is to prevent injuries..

    Great job… keep it up!

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