National Facial Protection Month: Learn To Protect Your Smile On The Field

Friday, April 20, 2018
National Facial Protection Month: Learn To Protect Your Smile On The Field

Avoid high costs and unnecessary pain with these prevention tips.

Athletic injuries can heavily impact a child or adult’s health. This National Facial Protection Month, we’re focusing on facial injuries and the measures that can be taken to avoid dental damage when playing sports. This April awareness month is all about learning how to use face protectors to your advantage and what to do if you or your child has an accident.

Athletic Injuries that Affect Dental Health

When athletes don’t wear a mouthguard, a fall, collision, or hard hit to the head or face may also affect their teeth, causing a dental injury:

  • national facial protection monthFractured/Broken Teeth: You should see a dentist with 24 hours of the injury: the sooner, the better. Find the broken pieces of your tooth and store them in water or milk, which will preserve the tooth. Your dentist may be able to reattach the broken pieces of tooth, or may place an emergency crown to protect it.
  • Displaced tooth: See your dentist immediately, as optimally, replantation should be done within 5-10 minutes of the injury. When you find your tooth, hold it by the crown (the wide part). Rinse the tooth without rubbing or touching the root. Place the tooth back in its socket and cover with gauze or tissue to stabilize it, or store it in cold milk. Do not let the tooth dry out. A tooth may be saved if properly cared for and re-implanted within the hour.

Even if your tooth injury doesn’t seem like an emergency, we recommend seeing a dentist as soon as you can if you think there’s been damage. Harm to the teeth can have long-term consequences when not treated properly at the outset.

How to Prevent Injuries and Minimize Damage

Athletes should be aware of the possibility of being injured and take measures to minimize them as early as childhood. Across the United States, sports-related injuries are the leading cause of death among children under 19. According to the CDC, about 33 children die every day because of sports-related injuries. For the most part, these injuries are preventable. Child, college, and professional athletes can use these tips to prevent harm during sports:

  • Protect your face: Helmets and mouthguards are important protective gear for many sports. In fact, many injuries are far less severe when a mouthguard is used. Repairing jaw and teeth injuries can cost thousands of dollars and a lot of pain!  According to the American Dental Association, an athlete is 60% more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard.
  • Practice correct technique: Using appropriate tackling technique, for example, is fundamental in preventing injuries in football. Correct movement and alignment play a role in safety in baseball and softball as well.
  • Warm up: Slowly increase activity level to improve physical condition and fluidity of muscles. Intense physical activity without appropriate stretching and warming up can increase risk of muscle strains, sprains, and other tissue injuries.

Know Where To Go For Help.

Penn Dental Family Practice is an experienced dental provider that can help you or your child if you have had the misfortune of getting a facial injury. Though they can greatly reduced the risk of injury, safety measures are no guarantee against harm.

In the case of dental emergency, please call our office at 215-898-7337. Even if it’s after hours, someone will be on the line to help you figure out what to do and get the help you need.

You can learn more about dental emergencies and how to handle them by downloading our free Survivor’s Guide to Dental Emergencies.

What have you learned this National Facial Protection Month about injury prevention during sports? Be sure to talk to your family this month about prevention tips!