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If you or your child play a contact sport, even if it’s just for fun, it’s important to think about protecting your teeth from trauma during sports. Sports injuries are often on the rise during the summer and investing in a sports guard or mouth guard can make a big difference when it really matters. Let’s talk about what you should know about dental safety and sports.
What is a Sports Guard?
A sports guard is a thin, flexible piece of plastic that is molded to fit over your teeth to help provide cushion and shock absorption in case of impact. Sports guards may be found in many sporting goods stores or your dentist might recommend one that is custom fit to your mouth and jaw. Custom mouth guards can be more expensive, but they can also be more comfortable thanks to a perfect fit and the use of superior materials, although any mouth guardcan make a big difference in protecting your teeth from trauma during sports.
When Do I Need a Sports Guard?
When playing contact sports, your teeth are at risk of being broken, chipped, jarred out of alignment or knocked out. If that happens, it can lead to a lot of discomfort, stress and the need for expensive and uncomfortable dental treatment, so minimizing your risk is key.
Anyone of any age who plays contact sports should wear a sports guard, whether you’re playing on an organized team or a spontaneous pick up game at the park, at the gym or in the pool. Dental trauma is the most common type of facial injury, so prevention just makes good sense. The American Dental Association estimates that over 200,000 dental injuries are prevented each year with the use of sports guards.
Sports guards can also protect the wearer from brain injuries and concussions, so wearing one can benefit more than just your teeth. That’s because wearing a mouth guard helps to absorb the force of an impact to the head or jaw, which can lessen how much shock your brain needs to absorb.
When Trauma Occurs
Unfortunately, even when you wear a sports guard or other protective gear during contact sports, impact can still happen and so can trauma. If you do experience a significant impact to your teeth or jaw, it’s important to call a dentist right away, even if damage isn’t visible. Your dentist can tell you how to manage any discomfort or other symptoms and let you know anything you need to do to protect the site of injury or knocked out tooth until it can be treated so that you can be sure to have the most positive outcome.
Protecting your teeth from trauma during sports isn’t complicated, but it’s extremely important, so if you don’t have a sports guard then it’s key to invest in one or make an appointment with your dentist to be fitted with a custom one as soon as possible before trauma can occur.
Call our Fairbanks Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.