Sports Safety~ Protect Your Smile!

Sports Safety – Protect Your Smile

A few years ago, the ADA News published an article that described what seemed like an unusual sports injury case:  A teenager had suffered serious dental injuries after snagging his front teeth on a basketball net while attempting a slam dunk.  OUCH!  Unfortunately this is not as unusual as one may think.  Sports injuries can occur in any sport from baseball to bowling.  A poll done by the ADA in 2004, estimated that between 29% and 39% of dental injuries occur while playing sports.  About 80% of those injuries affect at least one of the front teeth.  Damage to the tongue or cheek is also common.

The use of a mouth guard in football players is believed to prevent about 200,000 oral injuries a year.  Not only do mouth guards protect tooth injury, they also help greatly with the prevention of skull concussions.  The force of the upper and lower jaw slamming together can result in a concussion.

Minor mishaps can cause significant and expensive damage. Chips and cracks in the enamel can be repaired with materials that will restore the tooth to look and feel like it did before the injury.  On the down side, the loss of a tooth can also happen. Sometimes if a tooth has been knocked out completely, it can be saved if you get to a dentist quickly. If you enjoy sports or other high-risk activities, it’s worth investing in some protection, such as a mouth guard.

Not all mouth guards are created equal! A mouth guard needs to be made of a soft rubber or vinyl material that is custom fit to the athlete’s teeth.  A custom-made mouth guard can be fabricated at your dentist office.  Custom-made mouth guards are more expensive, although weigh the cost wisely.  Remember one trip to the dentist with a chipped front tooth can cost a lot more than a mouth guard.  Or even worse, think about the possible loss of a tooth.  Mouth guards should be worn when playing basketball, football, baseball, softball, hockey, soccer and field hockey.

Wear a helmet!! Do I need to abrogate the need to wear a helmet to protect your head?  Helmets protect your skull, which houses your brain, which you need to live.  Please wear helmets when playing football, baseball, softball, hockey, skating, skateboarding, biking, riding anything motorized (4 Wheelers, Motorcycles, and Dirt Bikes), horses or when doing any other activity where an injury to your head may occur.

Think First, Play Smart, and Protect that Gorgeous Smile.

For more information about how to protect your smile you can contact Dr. Jeffery Hartman at (814)-643-9414 or (800)-732-9630; visit our Huntingdon Dental Office at 524 Washington Street • Huntingdon, PA 16652; or visit www.drhartmandentistry.com.

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