Dental injuries are the most frequent facial injuries which happen usually due to sports activities. The injuries may range from fractured teeth, jaw fracture, injury to the nerve or loss of teeth or even a brain concussion which can happen due to an impact to the base of the skull via a blow to the chin. In these kinds of injuries wearing a custom fitted mouth guard reduces the incidence of concussion as well as dental and jaw injuries. It has been reported that mouth-guards relieve the stress concentrated on the front teeth in a frontal collision by absorbing and dispersing some of the shock energy quickly stopping the vibration of the upper teeth. Unfortunately the public is largely un-informed about the serious consequences of sports trauma as well as the methods of prevention.
About 39% of all dental injuries estimated to be sports related and with young school-age children being most vulnerable. About 1.3 million high school athletes are injured each school year according to the Center for Injury Research and Policy and about half a million of them are football players. The estimates are even higher for kids under the age of 14 and about 3.5 million sustained injuries. In the past patients felt comfortable going to the local sporting goods store to get the inexpensive boil and bite mouth-guards. These mouth-guards have shown to be non- protective, have little to no fit and compliance to wear these mouth-guards is minimal. The medical/dental literature now provides many references in support of custom made pressure thermoformed mouth-guards for injury prevention in kids playing sports. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry supports the continued use of protective mouth-guards in sports activities for children and adolescents and the use of “properly fitted mouth-guards in other organized sporting activities that carry risk of oro- facial injury”.
The culture of sports says that injury is just part of the game but that could be dangerous especially when the injury could be a brain concussion, therefore we should try to make sports safer for our kids and it should be emphasized. The prevention and treatment of oro-facial trauma is a very important part of general dental practice. Therefore parents can get custom fitted mouth-guards for their kids by the dentist in the dental office which protects the teeth and jaw and minimizes the chance of concussion and other serious trauma.