Sports dentistry focuses on not only treatment, but also on the prevention of oral and facial athletic injuries. In sports, whether contact or non-contact, injuries occur frequently. When face injuries or injuries sustained to teeth during play happen, it is best to have a trained professional on hand to deal with the problem. They also need to be able to recognize and diagnose injuries that are not oral. Identifying secondary and related injuries like concussions or broken bones is also an important skill to have. This type of professional differs from traditional dentistry in that it involves traveling with teams and working in the field without the help of office tools and machines. Wounded athletes require immediate treatment, or they can suffer permanent complications.
Part of preparing for and preventing orofacial athletic injuries is encouraging the use of protective equipment, like mouth guards and helmets. A thorough preseason examination can help custom fit mouth guards that meet the special needs of athletes, whether they have braces or unique dentition. Mouth guards that have a proper fit can do far more to protect teeth than generic versions bought at sporting goods stores. Their examinations can also identify the signs of anorexia and bulimia. Performed well in advance of the season, these exams can eliminate current or potential oral problems before gameplay beings.
These doctors provide necessary education on oral hygiene to athletes and coaches alike. They can repair minor chips and cracks and deal with wounds to the tongue and cheeks. People who participate in the profession of sports dentistry play an important but often overlooked role in keeping athletes safe and in peak condition.