It is the latest developing field in dentistry, which includes the prevention and treatment of sports-related orofacial injuries. Sports have become an integral part of our lives. Parents encourage children to participate in sports from a very young age.
With this, our responsibility to provide safety to the orofacial structures also comes into play. A study has shown that approximately 40 percent of sports injuries involve the face. A fall, a hit by a ball, or injury by another person accounts for most of the casualities. The most common injury areas are the nose, the zygoma, the mandibular bone, and the upper front teeth.
These injuries damage a very vulnerable and unprotected area of the face and can cause serious damage and disfigurement of the face. These can include fractures, intrusion or extrusion of the teeth, and severe luxations. Children and adolescents are at higher risk of being hurt. Ball games usually have a higher risk of injury. Football and basketball top the charts. In India, a lot of people report of injury due to a cricket ball and biking and cycling as well. We at Aruma Dental and Implant Clinic have spread education and awareness about how can you prevent severe facial injuries.
How would we assess the extent of a facial injury?
Whenever a patient reports with a trauma in the maxillofacial region, we follow the below mentioned protocols.
- ABC: We always evaluate the airway, breathing, and circulation of the patient.
- Examination of the soft and bony tissue injuries. : this would include evaluation of any fractures and any concussions
- A detailed assessment of the vital signs
- Necessary investigations: That would include radiographic examinations.
- Development of a treatment plan
- Treatment initiation
Often facial injuries lead to major complications that can be life-threatening as well. It’s been rightly said that Prevention is always better than cure.
How can we prevent and minimize injuries?
The best way to prevent facial injury is to wear basic protective gear. These include helmets, facemasks, or mouth guards. Mouthguards are highly important for the prevention of injury to the facial region.
Mouthguards: their role and need
Indication: Any sport that involves a high potential for facial injuries such as basketball, soccer, hockey,football, or wrestling.
How do they help?
They protect against injury to teeth, gingival, lips, or tongue. They act as a cushion and would protect from the powerful blows that can fracture the jaws and even dislocate the joints. They even shield against severe concussions by providing a barrier between both the jaws.
Different types of mouthguards:
- Stock mouthguards: they are ready-made but their fit cannot be adjusted. They are ill-fitting and can even interfere with your breathing.
- Custom-made mouthguards: We would take impressions of your teeth and get the mouthguards made from our certified laboratories. This gives a good fit and protection. This would be our job to provide you with a mouthguard that fits you perfectly.
- Boil and bite: These are made up of thermoplastic material. You can shape this up to fit your teeth. The mouthguard is softened by placing it in hot water, and then you can press it over your teeth till it fits well. When it reaches the right fit it should be cooled under running water. This is a very tedious process and often leads to a discrepancy.
Of all the mouthguards mentioned above the best option is a custom-made mouthguard. A few studies have shown that their better fit aids in better protection.
Mouthguards should be mandatory for anybody who actively participates in sports since they have proven benefits against facial injuries and minor brain injuries. According to the American Dental Association, the use of guards prevents around 200,000 facial injuries in football annually.
Orofacial injuries due to sports are mostly preventable. Many athletes are not aware of the brutal implications of an injury to the face or head. We can contribute to your facial health protection. We have been spreading awareness to a lot of patients, who realized that the effective usage of mouthguards gave them a greater sense of confidence.
Our patients have come back happily and they now have a positive outlook towards playing safer sports.
Your safety is our responsibility.
A small preventive step can save you from a life-threatening situation in the future.