A recent study revealed that on average there are 22,000 dental injuries in children under the age of 18. This alarming reality makes it clear that parents, caregivers, and coaches need to understand the risks for dental injuries so that they are best equipped to prevent them...or at least be prepared to manage one should it occur. The four most common categories for measuring risks associated with sports injuries are:
- Age: Age is an important factor when accessing risk. Sports-related dental injuries tend to spike during the teenage years. Recent research shows that children under the age of 13 tend to not be injured as often.
- Gender: Gender is probably the second most influential factor. The facts are that males top the list for experiencing dental injuries during sports or vigorous activities. However, more and more females are playing highly competitive and contact sports or activities; thus, their risk of injury is increasing.
- Shape and position of your teeth: Both the condition and positions of the teeth affect their risk of injury. More prominent or “buck” teeth are considered a higher risk for injury than teeth in a more normal position. Furthermore, 80% of all dental injuries involve the upper front teeth.
- Sports type: This last category is the one most often asked about, as parents, caregivers and athletes want to know which sports or activities have the highest risks for dental injuries. And while baseball and basketball top the list, the American Dental Association (ADA) has put together a comprehensive list of sports and activities. To review this list, read the Dear Doctor article, “Athletic Mouthguards.” The ADA also urges athletes to wear professionally-fitted mouthguards to protect against dental and facial injuries.
Knowing the above categories can help you assess your risk for a dental injury while playing in a sport or recreational activity. To learn more about sports-related dental injuries, read, “An Introduction To Sports Injuries & Dentistry.” Or if you have a traumatized, damaged, chipped or missing tooth from a sports or any other type of injury, contact us to discuss your situation or to schedule an appointment.