Smile-saving devices help save face
Let the games begin! As the weather starts warming up, people naturally start heading outdoors in search of physical activity, thus increasing a person's chance of suffering a mouth-related injury.
More than 200,000 injuries to the mouth and jaw occur each year, according to the May 2004 issue of AGD Impact, the monthly newsmagazine of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Most injuries occur from sports activities and can be easily prevented by wearing mouthguards-flexible appliances made out of plastic designed to protect teeth from trauma.
Whether it's an elbow to the jaw in basketball or a ball to the teeth in softball, patients need to learn about the importance of protecting their teeth when playing sports.
"We want to encourage people to wear mouthguards," says Cindy Bauer, DDS, MAGD and AGD spokesperson. "The more active you are, the more you need to wear them. Anyone, including children and adults, who are physically active and play contact sports should wear one."
In the May/June 2004 issue of General Dentistry, the AGD's clinical, peer-reviewed journal, David P. Kumamoto, DDS, FAGD, wrote that "athletes, coaches, athletic directors, athletic trainers, parents and members of the dental community, should be aware of how individuals who participate in sporting activities are at risk for dental trauma."
"It's something (patients) don't realize is available to prevent injuries to the teeth," says Dr. Kumamoto, who has been the team dentist for University of Illinois at Chicago for 21 years.
Dr. Bauer recommends patients visit their dentists to have their mouthguard specifically fitted to their mouth. Patients who are wearing orthodontic brackets and who participate in sports should be fitted for a custom mouthguard.
Did you know?
A mouthguard may prevent serious injuries such as concussions and jaw fractures by helping to avoid situations where the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw.
Source: Eurekalert & othersLast reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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