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Current Concepts in Preventive Dentistry

Course Number: 334

Dental Team's Role

Sports dentistry should encompass much more than mouthguard fabrication and the treatment of fractured teeth. As dental professionals, we have a responsibility to educate ourselves and the community regarding the issues related to sports dentistry and specifically to the prevention of sports-related oral and maxillofacial trauma. The ADA publishes a brochure called Handling your Child’s Dental Emergency. The ADA also has information on their website about mouthguards in the Oral Health Topics portion of the website. A field emergency kit is a simple and inexpensive item for the dentist attending a sporting event (Table 2).

Table 2. Dental Emergency Kit for Sporting Events.

  • Gloves
  • mouth mirror
  • pen light
  • tongue depressor
  • scissors
  • rope wax
  • zinc oxide eugenol (e.g., IRM)
  • spatula
  • mixing pad
  • 2x2 & 4x4 sterile gauze
  • sterile small wire cutters (for removal of broken orthodontic wires)
  • spare commercial mouthguard
  • emergency tooth-preserving solution Save-a-Tooth™ for the avulsed tooth

“Fitting mouthguards is a perfect activity for a dental society,” according to a Professor of Prosthodontics at the University of Texas-San Antonio Dental School. “You simply get a group of dentists together at the school and begin making impressions. It spreads out the costs and cuts down on the time. And it’s worthwhile.” A general dentist in San Marcos, Texas, and the dentist for the Southwest Texas State University football team indicates, “It’s a great practice builder. I don’t charge for my time or the materials to make a mouthguard. I do it for free. As a result, we get a lot of referrals.”

As dental professionals your role should include:

  • Good impression techniques and knowledge of mouthguard materials/manipulations in mouthguard creation.

  • Communications with children and parents/guardians. Dental charting should include questions about involvement in sports and the use of mouthguards. If patients are unwilling/unable to pay for an office-made guard, the dental assistant should educate patients about affordable boil and bite-type guards for minimal protection.

  • Basic instructions on emergency treatments of dental emergencies such as avulsion, fracture, extrusion, and intrusion that an adult can perform immediately until dental treatment can be attained.