Athletes are highly susceptible to mouth and dental injuries. Whether a star football player dives for a football, a wrestler receives an elbow to the jaw or a lacrosse player is hit by a ball, there are infinite opportunities for an athlete to become serious injured. Ranging from a cracked, chipped or broken tooth to gum damage, prevention is the only way to avert the high price tag that comes along with a serious dental accident. Dr. Mohl can give an athlete the best care plan possible. He will likely recommend some of the following tips:
- Wearing a dental appliance called a 'mouthguard' is paramount to protection during activity. It is a plastic guard that simply shields the teeth should there be any injury.
- Use a helmet or faceguard if at all possible. This gives the most protection in addition to a mouthguard.
- Retainers will increase the likelihood of a serious injury. Also, special mouthguards are designed to go over top of braces.
- Learning how to play a sport with specific techniques to avoid injury is key. Athletes may ask their coaches how to play effectively yet safely so they can continue a long career.
Mouthguards are by far the most superior way of protecting the mouth from athletic related harm. Used not only to prevent tooth and gum damage, they provide added protection against concussions, hemorrhages, facial and jaw fractures and lacerations of the soft portion of the mouth.
Mouthguards are similar to a plastic or rubber shield that cover either the lower or upper or both rows of teeth. While most mouthguards are bought from sporting goods stores, dentists argue that even with the wide variety of mouthguards sold, the level of protection that a custom mouthguard provides is far superior. Since not everyone has the same mouth pattern and overbite, the one size fits all motto puts an athlete at high risk for injury with the traditional plastic sporting goods store purchase. Further negative attributes of a store bought mouthguard include: not covering all of the athlete's teeth, bulkiness interfering with breathing, too thin of a lining and too loose of a fit. Also, because of these inadequacies, athletes are known to cut to shape the mouthguards which may also lessen the efficacy.
A custom mouthguard is created by a dentist using molds taken of the patient's mouth. The mouthguard is then designed for fit, comfort and function and is also constructed to have a helmet attachment in the case that it falls out of the athlete's mouth. A dentist can also compensate for orthodontia or dental obtrusions.
Sports Dentistry Facts
Sports dentistry is not widely known by the public, but it is by athletes. From amateur to professional, athletes rely on sports dentists for preventative and emergency measures. Some facts not typically known about the discipline are:
- According to statistics, dental injuries are the most common injury sustained during sport participation.
- Faceguards and mouthguards prevent over 200,000 injuries per year.
- The use of mouthguards can reduce the likelihood of potentially serious and life threatening injuries such as concussions and head and neck injuries.
- Teeth that have been knocked out during a sporting event cost in the neighborhood of $15000 per tooth to replace not including further dental complications in the future.
- The cost is $5000 to restore a missing tooth including a follow-up visit.
- As a whole, athletes have a 33%-56% chance of incurring a sports dentistry problem during their sporting career and a 10% chance of injury each athletic season.
- The reason why wearing a mouthguard is so essential is because an athlete's risk is 60 times more likely to have a serious impairment if he/she is not wearing a mouthguard. Mouthguards are the number one preventative measure to ensure safety.
- Mouthguards prevent against lacerations of the gums and the flesh on the inside of the mouth.