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Sports Dentistry - Education and Prevention: Play it Right!

Course Number: 679


Orofacial injuries during sports activities are largely preventable. Mouth and face protection for athletes is one of dentistry's contributions to sports medicine. It is the responsibility of the dental profession, therefore, to become more active in sports injury prevention programs. Mouthguards and face shields provide protection against injuries to the orofacial area, including the teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue, thereby reducing the incidence and severity of injuries that occur during athletic practice and competition. They also have been shown to prevent head and neck injuries, concussions and jaw fractures. Many athletes are not aware of the health implications of a traumatic injury to the mouth or of the potential for incurring severe head and orofacial injuries while playing.20

Dental professionals can play an imperative task in informing athletes, coaches, and patients about the magnitude of dental sciences in preventing orofacial injuries in sports. Education of all those involved is the key. Team physicians, dentists, athletic trainers, and coaches must take into consideration both the athlete's previous medical history and the sport. There is need to popularize the use of orofacial protective devices in a variety of sports events by interacting with coaches, sports administrators, and athletes. Furthermore, dental professionals need to be familiar with the emergency management of traumatic dental injuries and spread the word about the proper management in the field to the general community.

Last, we should make an effort to advocate for proper dental follow-ups and treatments whenever we can.