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.
- mouth mirror
- pen light
- tongue depressor
- rope wax
- zinc oxide eugenol (e.g., IRM)
- 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.