Sports dentistry is a branch of dentistry that is concerned with preventing injury to the mouth and teeth during sports activities. Dentists who offer sports dentistry will be able to provide patients with specific services. These can include custom-fit mouth guards to recommendations about helmets and face masks.
Damage to the teeth is a common injury in sports, and it can have severe consequences. Prevention is the best way to protect your teeth and avoid significant trauma to your mouth.
The face is an extremely vulnerable part of the body, especially when playing contact or team sports. At any given moment, an accident can happen.
When thinking about facial injuries in sports, many people might gravitate to thinking about boxing or martial arts, but there are numerous injuries in sports like soccer, baseball, softball, and even basketball. From bad bounces in baseball to aggressive elbows in basketball, your teeth and face can receive a potential injury. Even solo sports, such as mountain biking or skateboarding, pose a risk of injury if you fall or wipe out.
How Can a Dentist Protect Your Smile During Sports?
Dentists are experts in all things concerning the face, not just your teeth. In order to be able to properly care for your teeth, a dentist must learn about everything in your face. They are experts when it comes to your facial muscles, tendons, bones, and nerves and how they work and move together. This means they are also the best resource for how to protect your face while you participate in different activities.
Mouthguards are one way that a dentist can help you protect your teeth and mouth. A mouthguard is a device made of a soft plastic material that fits over your teeth. If made by your dentist, this device is customized to the shape of your teeth and mouth to provide better protection from injury.
How Does a Mouthguard Prevent Oral Injuries?
The shape of the mouthguard reduces the impact of a fall or ball. It spreads the pressure across the teeth and mouth rather than in one centralized location. This minimizes the damage received.
A mouthguard will cushion your mouth and teeth from any potential trauma to the face that may cause chips, fractures, or breaks in your teeth. They can also help protect your gums from a more serious injury.
Mouthguards may not prevent injury entirely, but they can help reduce the effects of traumas or falls on the face. One study wrote that mouthguards provide protection for your lips, teeth, tongue, and cheeks as well as the bones in your face. The same study found that it can reduce the likelihood of receiving a concussion or certain jaw or neck injuries.
Your dentist may tell you that a mouthguard can be one of the most important pieces of protective equipment for sporting use. You can buy several kinds of mouthguards from the store (one-size-fits-all or boil-and-bite). But the best mode of protection for your mouth is a custom-fit mouthguard made by your dentist.