April is National Facial Protection Month. We want to make sure our patients and their teammates are properly protected from sports-related injuries to teeth, mouth and face. Here is some information on how to keep your smile intact and pretty.
- Simple and relatively inexpensive protective sports gear – such as mouth guards – can make a big difference in reducing or preventing oral injuries.
- In a 2017 study commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontists, conducted among 1,000 U.S. parents whose children play organized sports, findings included:
- 65% reported report that when their child suffered their most recent mouth injury they were not wearing a mouth guard
- Parents estimated the cost to restore a knocked-out or broken permanent tooth at $1,142 – in reality, the costs to treat one knocked-out tooth over a lifetime can range from $5,000 to $20,000
- Children in braces should always wear a mouth guard. Serious trauma can occur to the lips and gums if they are hit in the mouth with a ball or stick without the proper protection.
- Any time you’re engaged in an activity where your face can come in contact with something hard—say another player, a ball, the pavement, or any hard object—it’s a time that you should be wearing a mouth guard!
- If an accident occurs, causing facial injury, you should go to the emergency room. If there’s any dental damage done, contact your child’s dentist so that arrangements can be made to correct the problem.
- Mandated for many organized sports, helmets save lives and prevent head injuries.
- Face guards, devices made of plastic or metal that attach to baseball helmets, also help to prevent facial injuries.
To prevent facial injuries, remember these four important tips:
- Wear mouth guards for contact sports to help prevent injuries to the teeth and mouth.
- Wear a helmet. Helmets absorb the energy of an impact.
- Wear protective eyewear. Eyes are extremely vulnerable.
- Be alert even as a spectator. Alert spectators can avoid foul baseballs and flying hockey pucks. Watch your step when climbing bleachers.
Photo courtesy of AAO