Dentists and their staff need to educate patients on the need and benefits of protective devices. The American Dental Association (www.ada.org) publishes brochures, which explain the different types of mouthguards and their advantages. The ASD has resources available on their website academyforsportsdentistry.org. Emergency Treatment of Athletic Dental Injuries cards in English and other languages that provide detailed lay instructions regarding avulsion, luxation, and tooth fractures. Field emergency kits are a simple and inexpensive item for dentists attending a sporting event. See some recommended items from an emergency kit.12 More items can be found on the American Academy for Sports Dentistry (AASD) website.
|Dental Emergency Kit for Sporting Events|
|PPE: gloves, masks, safety glasses, disposable gown||Consumables: paper towels (both dry and wet), sealable baggies, tongue depressors|
|Zinc oxide eugenol (i.e., IRM)||Mixing pad and spatula|
|Flashlight or penlight||2x2 and 4x4 sterile gauze|
|Tongue depressor||Sterile instruments: mouth mirror, explorer, small wire cutters (for removal of broken orthodontic wires), hemostats, crown and bridge scissors|
|Soft wax (rope or utility wax)||Spare commercial mouthguard|
|Soft wax (rope or utility wax)||If the avulsed tooth cannot be reimplanted. Emergency tooth-preserving solution i.e., Save-a-Tooth™ or Hanks Balanced Saline Solution™ for the avulsed tooth|
|Canned air||Biohazard bag|
|Informed consent form|
Another activity for dentists and their staff is making mouthguards for sport teams. “Fitting mouthguards is a perfect activity for a dental society,” says Robert Morrow, D.D.S., Professor of Prosthodontics, 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.”2 “It’s a great practice builder,” says Robert Donnelly, D.D.S., a general practitioner in San Marcos, Texas, and dentist for the Southwest Texas State University football team. “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.”22
Due to the increasing participation in sporting events by children of all ages, a need for mouthguard implementation is of extreme importance. Dental professionals need to develop effective ways of conducting research to determine the prevalence of sports-related injuries in their communities. By combining research with preventive efforts, legislation can be changed in your area. Mouthguard requirements would help to reduce the number of orofacial sporting injuries and protect athletes. Dentists and allied dental professionals can provide education to athletes and their families on the types of injuries, treatment procedures, and mouthguard prevention.
The role as dental professionals should include:
Sports dentistry can encompass much more than mouthguard fabrication and the treatment of fractured teeth. As dental professionals, we need to educate our community regarding the issues related to sports dentistry and specifically to the prevention of sports-related oral and maxillofacial trauma. Dental and facial injuries can be reduced significantly by requiring protective equipment such as mouthguards and face shields.