Sports dentistry professionals work to prevent and care for the roughly 5 million teeth lost annually to adult and child athletics. Oral injuries do not discriminate between full contact activities such as football and those with a bit less like baseball. Athletes suffer broken and lost teeth as well as jaw fractures and concussions when partaking in all levels of physical activity. Therefore the focus of oral healthcare physicians is to inform players and coaches about prevention techniques, protective equipment, and proper skills necessary to minimize harm to the orafacial area. When injuries are sustained, it is imperative that the professional recognize and adequately treat the damage.
Prevention techniques are an important aspect of the education sports dentistry professionals hope to share with those in the athletic community. The approaches they emphasize include preseason health evaluations which encompass a review of the athlete’s health history and current oral condition. Any needed extractions or other treatments should be addressed at this time. Proper gear is important in decreasing the chances of injury. Mouth guards are the ideal means for protecting the mouth. Those customized for the individual take into account any specific needs while absorbing the shock upon impact.
Experienced oral healthcare professionals perform numerous procedures to treat injuries that do occur. It is their goal to alleviate pain and reduce future dental setbacks. The work done may be for repair or aesthetic purposes and include bridges, implants, and veneers. When more serious damage occurs to the head or neck the physician must refer the athlete to the appropriate professional for further assessment. While oral injures are the most common type of athletic damage to the face, they can also be expensive. Prevention and early treatment will help to control the overall impact both physically and financially.